How to Use Fill Handle in Excel

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In Excel, Fill Handle is a tool that auto-fills the rows/columns following the values pattern of the selected cells and creates a list of series.

Fill handle is a very small black box always available at the right bottom corner of every cell, and the users just need to click on it and drag it with the help of a mouse or double press on it and it will auto-fill the cells and creates a series based on the values you have in the selected cells.

Fill Handle can be used to auto-fill the cells based on the value you have in the cell(s) in the starting cells from where you want to create a list.

The process of using the Fill Handle to auto-fill the list with any kind of value such as numbers, dates, weekdays and formulas are the same and we have some examples listed below for you to understand how Fill Handle works.

Use Fill Handle to Autofill the Number Series Pattern Using Drag and Drop.

  1. First, enter the value in a cell from which you want to start the series and click and hold the Fill Handle and drag up to the cell to which you want to copy the series.
  2. After that, click and open the Fill Handle icon and select the “Fill Series” option and your list will be converted to a series with increments by 1.
    1-auto-fill-number-series.gif
  3.  Or enter the value in at least two cells to create a pattern to be followed by Fill Handle.
  4. After that, select both the cells and place the mouse cursor over the bottom right corner of the cell and a plus (+) sign icon (Fill Handle) will appear.
    2-fill-handle-button
  5. Now, click and hold the mouse button and drag to the cell up to which you want to auto-fill the pattern.
    3-auto-fill-by-drag-drop.gif

Use Fill Handle to Autofill the Number Series Pattern Using Double Click

You can also auto-fill the cells by just double click on the Fill Handle, but to do this you should have data in the adjacent columns.

  • First, enter the values in at least two cells to create a pattern to be followed by Fill Handle.
  • After that, select both the cells and place the mouse cursor over the bottom right corner of the cell, and a plus (+) sign icon appears.
  • Now, just double-click, and your pattern will be copied up to the cells that have data in adjacent cells.
fill-handle-using-double-click

In the above examples we have used the pattern of incremental of 1 in the first two selected cells, thus Fill Handle followed the same pattern and auto-filled the cells following the same incremental pattern.

Use Fill Handle to Autofill the Dates

Fill Handle gives you different options to choose from the Fill Handle icon based on the values you enter in the cell to create a list.

In the below image, you can see we have taken cell value as a date.

And when we used the Fill Handle to autofill the cells and clicked the Fill Handle icon, it showed us more options related to dates like “Fill days, Fill Weekdays, Fill Months, Fill Years”.

And you can choose any of the options based on your list requirements.

auto fill date values

Fill Handle Options

Some of the Fill Handle icon options like “Copy Cells, Fill Series, Fill Formatting Only, Fill Without Formatting, and Flash Fill” remains constant every time but some options can vary based on the cell values.

For example, if your cell value is a day’s name then it will show you 2-3 additional options related to the day’s name formatting only.

We have described some widely used Fill Handle options below:

  • Copy Cells: This option simply copy-pastes the value of the selected cells.
  • Fill Series: This option fills the cells as a series with increments of 1.
  • Fill Formatting Only: This option only fills the formatting in the cells rather than values.
  • Fill without Formatting: This option fills the cells based on the value pattern without copying the formatting.               
  • Fill Days: This option fills the cells with a series of days’ names.
  • Fill Weekdays: This option fills the cells with the days’ names except for the weekends (Sat and Sun).
  • Fill Months: This option creates the list by incrementing the months only and the date and year remain constant.
  • Fill Years: This option creates the list by incrementing the years only and the date and month remain constant.

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