Excel’s Fill Handle

Friday evening I was meeting some friends for dinner. One of the worked at a law office on Seventh Avenue, so I met them at their office beforehand. They were performing some calculations on an Excel spreadsheet at the time, and as they were copying and pasting a repetitive formula, I showed them this trick which I am now sharing with you. This technique works with Excel 2003 and Excel 2007.

Sometimes you may want to use a formula or function repeatedly. In such a case you can easily copy the formula from one consecutive cell to another by using the fill handle of the active cell. The fill handle is the small square that appears in the lower right corner of an active cell.

To Copy A Formula With The Fill Handle

  1. Activate the cell that contains the formula you want to copy. (This typically done by clicking on the cell).
  2. Use the mouse to grab the fill handle. (Move the mouse close enough to the fill handle so that the mouse turns into a small black cross. When you see the small black cross, hold down the left mouse button.)
  3. While holding down the left mouse button, drag the mouse down for as many rows as you would like to copy to. Then release the left mouse button.
Fill Handle Usage

Fill Handle Usage

That’s it! The references used in the formula will be updated to match the new rows, so that the answers will be correct for the new rows.


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