# Using Microsoft Excel

Explains the basics of common features in Microsoft Excel for PC.

## What is AutoFill?

Excel has a feature that helps you automatically enter data. If you are entering a predictable series (e.g. 1, 2, 3…; days of the week; hours of the day) you can use the AutoFill command to automatically extend the sequence. You can also use this for formulas – set up the formula once, then use the AutoFill to propagate it to the other cells.

## AutoFill Sequences

For Excel to know how to fill in the series, you usually need to provide two or three examples. In the case of sequences like months, weekdays, and hours, you only need to provide one example.

1. Type in either the first element (e.g. January or any month) or the first two or three elements (e.g. 1, 2) of a series.
2. Select the cell(s) you just typed in.
3. Move the cursor over the little block in the lower right corner of the active cell, and the cursor changes to a hairline plus sign (+), as opposed to the usual block plus sign.
4. Click and hold on the fill handle and drag to the right (or down) to fill in the series. Note that Excel can only extend series by adding to the sequence (that is, the next month, adding the same number, etc.), not other kinds of math such as square, multiplication, etc. ## AutoFill Formulas

To use AutoFill with formulas, insert the formula and make sure it works (see Formulas and Functions for more information about working with formulas)

1. Select the cell(s) with the formula and move the cursor over the little block in the lower right corner of the active cell, and the cursor changes to a hairline plus sign (+), as opposed to the usual block plus sign.

2. Click and hold on the fill handle and drag to the right (or down) to fill in the other cells. Excel automatically adjusts the formula for the row it is now on (so, in the example at right, February's total formula would read =SUM(B3:F3) and so on.

A note about using AutoFill with formulas and functions:
If you want a constant reference (for example, each column should be divided by a certain cell's data), add a dollar sign (\$) in front that cell's reference in the Formula bar. For example, if =D8*\$P\$8 is in the Formula bar and you AutoFill from this cell, the next cell would read =D9*\$P\$8, changing the first cell, but keeping the second cell reference constant – otherwise, it would read =D9*P9.

## AutoFill Demo

Watch this video for a demonstration on the two AutoFill uses described above.