#387 Excel’s Awesome Flash Fill Trick

Many times the data you have to work with in Excel isn’t formatted the way you need it to be, and going through a giant set of data manually to correct it is monotonous and time consuming.  In previous versions of Excel, you need to craft a formula to do things like separating first & last names, formatting phone numbers and dates, etc but Excel 2013 has introduced a new function call Flash Fill that automates this. 

Excel 2013’s new Flash Fill feature allows you to take a part of the data entered into one column of a worksheet table and enter just that data in a new table column using only a few keystrokes.

As soon as Excel detects a pattern in your initial data entry it ‘smartly’ figures out the data you want to copy. And the cool thing about it is that you never need fuss with building any kind of formula. It just works! Check this video that demonstrates how it works.

Excel2013-FlashFill

Watch tutorial video

Flash fill is turned on by default but if it isn’t working here how you can turn it back on.

If you don’t have Excel 2013 yet you can still do this. But it requires you to be pretty nifty at building formulas using functions like FIND,  MID, RIGHT, LEFT, CONCATENATE and others.

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