Written by Andy Trainer– Wed 06 May 2009
Excel's Auto Sum feature is a handy time-saving feature that prevents you having to type out lists of commonly used values like sequences of numbers, days of the week or months. Auto Sum is covered in our Excel Beginners Training Course.
Let's demonstrate this with months. Type "January" in to a cell in your spreadsheet. Highlight the cell and you'll see that there's a little black arrow in the bottom right hand corner. Carefully click on this arrow with the mouse (a bit fiddly!) and hold the button. Now drag the box downwards a few cells and release, and Excel will fill in the subsequent months for you. Clever eh! Even better, it will also recognise abbreviations, such as Jan, Feb, Mar etc...
When you have finished dragging you will also see an Auto Fill options box appear.
If you click on this a drop down menu will appear showing you a list of further options. Whatever you press in this drop down menu will affect the series of numbers that you have created. If you would rather not have Excel type out all of the months and want all of the cells to say January, use the “copy cells” option