Cell Basics

In Excel cell function and references are helpful to better understand Excel spreadsheets. Use Excel cell reference functions as well.

To use the fill handle:

If you're copying cell content to adjacent cells in the same row or column, the fill handle is a good alternative to the copy and paste commands.

  1. Select the cell(s) containing the content you want to use, then hover the mouse over the lower-right corner of the cell so the fill handle appears.
    the fill handle
  2. Click and drag the fill handle until all of the cells you want to fill are selected. In our example, we'll select G13:G17.
    dragging the fill handle down
  3. Release the mouse to fill the selected cells.
    the filled cells

To continue a series with the fill handle:

The fill handle can also be used to continue a series. Whenever the content of a row or column follows a sequential order, like numbers (1, 2, 3) or days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday), the fill handle can guess what should come next in the series. In most cases, you will need to select multiple cells before using the fill handle to help Excel determine the series order. Let's take a look at an example:

  1. Select the cell range that contains the series you want to continue. In our example, we'll select E4:G4.
  2. Click and drag the fill handle to continue the series.
    continuing a series with the fill handle
  3. Release the mouse. If Excel understood the series, it will be continued in the selected cells. In our example, Excel added Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 to H4:J4.
    the finished series

You can also double-click the fill handle instead of clicking and dragging. This can be useful with larger spreadsheets, where clicking and dragging may be awkward.

Watch the video below to see an example of double-clicking the fill handle.