Use the Keyboard to Substitute for Excel's Temperamental and Super-Sensitive Fill Handle


Q: I bet I’m not the only one who hates using the mouse to grab that little slippery fill handle in Excel. The idea is great—click on the tiny handle and drag it to fill cells in a variety of ways. But I can’t always maneuver the mouse with that kind of accuracy. I know you’re a big advocate of using the keyboard instead of the mouse. So please, is there a keyboard alternative to control a fill handle?



A: Ah yes, that tiny square in the lower-right corner of a cell can sometimes be quite elusive—often slipping out of the mouse’s grasp. I’m happy to tell you there is a great keyboard substitute, it’s called the Series, and it works in all editions of Excel. To access Series, select the cells you want to fill. Then, while holding down the Alt key, press, in turn, E, I, and S, and the Series screen (see screenshot below) appears.



Use the Tab key (or you may now find it more efficient to use the mouse) to move among the various options in the dialog box. When you’ve selected them, press Enter.



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