Techie Tip of the Week: Use the Fill Handle to Copy Data in Excel!

The Fill Handle in Excel is found at the lower-right corner of the cell you have selected. When the mouse is hovering over that corner, the pointer will change to a dark, black, bolded plus sign. That’s the Fill Handle. One of the best uses of the Fill Handle is to quickly and easily copy data in your spreadsheet.

For example, suppose you are creating a list of all of the people in your department, separated by affiliation. Instead of copying and pasting “student” or “faculty” or “staff” over and over again, you can use the Fill Handle to quickly copy the affiliation for you.

Here’s how:

  1. In Excel, enter the data in the cell you wish to copy. In this case, we are copying the word “student” in Column C, row 2.
    Screenshot of a spreadsheet with a list of names and one cell with affilation (the rest of the affilations are blank)
  2. Hover the mouse over the lower-right corner of the cell you want to copy until it changes into a bold plus sign.
    Screen shot of step #2.
  3. Click and drag the mouse to the last cell to be copied.
    Screen shot of step #3
  4. Release the mouse button. The data have been copied!

For more tips like these, come take one of the upcoming IT Services Technology Training Excel classes!

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