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Google Spreadsheet’s Auto-fill

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A useful business tool

One of the most useful business tools is the spreadsheet. They are so popular because they give users a way to keep track of almost any kind of information or data. A problem with some spreadsheets is that it’s tedious to enter data. If you use Google’s Spreadsheet there is a function that makes it easier to enter some data – Auto-fill.

Auto-fill is arguably one of the most useful features of any spreadsheet program. It helps reduce the time it takes to layout a spreadsheet, and can even help you populate it with data by simply clicking and dragging. Here’s how Auto-fill works in Google Spreadsheet.

  1. Open a new Spreadsheet document in Google Drive by clicking on Create followed bySpreadsheet.
  2. Enter the first piece of information in A1 – Column A, Row 1. For example, today’s date.
  3. Type tomorrow’s date in A2.
  4. Select both A1 and A2 by left-clicking on A1 and dragging your mouse over A2. You should see a blue box appear around A1 and a light blue box highlighting the two cells.
  5. Look for the tiny dark blue box at the bottom-right of the highlighted area. In this case, it should be at the bottom-right of A2. Press Alt (Option on a Mac) and click and drag this box down to A5. You will notice a dotted line around the cells as you do this. This line indicates the cells you want to auto-fill.

If you do this right, you should see the dates advancing, A5 will be the date four days from now. The cool thing about Google’s auto-fill is that if it recognizes a pattern, it will fill cells in, in relation to that pattern. This function works as long as there is a pattern recognized and the original cells are beside/above each other – A2 and B2 for example. If no pattern is recognized, Auto-fill will just repeat the information.

Auto-fill options a plenty There are a number of useful patterns that auto-fill recognizes. Say you want a list of mobile electronics manufacturers. Simply enter the names of two companies that you know e.g., Apple and Samsung, followed by selecting the two cells and clicking and dragging the blue square, and you should get a list of the major manufacturers.

Other options include different kinds of beer, car makers, cities, tech blogs, days of the week, months, years, countries, etc. This should work for almost any pattern, you should take some time to discover available patterns, who knows what you will find! If you would like to learn more about Google’s apps and how they can help make your job more efficient please contact us.

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