Even if you have always avoided learning how to use Microsoft Excel correctly, hiding behind the sofa whenever the word Spread and Sheet are used together? Then there are some of the timesaving options in Excel that only take a few seconds to learn.

One easy one to try for the complete Excelophobe is Autofill. Just type a couple of dates or numbers or months into two fields, then highlight those fields and drag the little black rectangle across, up or down, Excel helps by guessing what comes next.

Think of Excel as a well meaning helper, it will try and guess what you want to do based on the first few inputs and do itís best to fill everything else in for you. It does this with a dates, months, days, quarters, numbers and formulas, but letís stick to the simple ones first.

how to auto fill excel

So if you type January and February into two fields, then highlight and drag, Excel will put the rest of the months of the year in, in a loop of 12 for as long as you drag. Try it now, see how easy it is. Now try different consecutive months and see what happens, Excel will pick up where you start. Now try non-consecutive months, with a gap of two or three months between them and autofill from there, Excel will try it ís very hardest to work out what you want, repeating whatever pattern you start.

If you put 2 and 4, it will count down in two’s for as long as you like, and if you put Motion Picture and Wrath of Khan in, it will auto fill Search for Spock and Voyage Home after them. Actually that last one isn’t true, but it will try and second guess most common patterns of words and numbers if you let it and it saves an incredible amount of time compared to typing them out manually.

[Image Russ Payne]