Filling Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 31, 2013)

If you take a look at the selected cell within a spreadsheet, you'll notice a few things. First, the cell has a heavy border around it. Second, if you select multiple cells, those cells are shaded in addition to having the border. These features help you to easily locate the selected cell (or range of cells) from all the other cells in the spreadsheet.

The selected cells also have something else unique: A small square at the lower-right corner of the cells. This small square is known as a fill handle. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The fill handle in the lower-right corner of a selected cell.

When you move the mouse pointer over the fill handle, you'll notice that it changes into a large plus sign. You can use the fill handle to either copy cells or fill a range of cells with repeating, sequential values. If you select a single cell and then drag the fill handle downward (click on the fill handle and drag the mouse), Sheets fills in the selected cells with whatever was in the original cell.

If you select a range of cells and those cells have a discernable pattern, when you click and drag the selected cells are filled with patterned cells. For instance, let's say you type 1, 2, and 3 (or 2, 5, and 8) into three adjacent cells. If you select those cells then click and drag the fill handle downward, the rest of the cells are filled with numbers that repeat the same pattern. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. You can use the fill handle to fill a range of cells with a discernable pattern.

You could also have the beginning cells contain other information, such as two sequential weekdays or two sequential months, or two sequential dates. Click and drag the fill handle, and the selected cells are filled with values that continue the pattern you started (weekdays, months, or dates, in this instance).

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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