Weekly Computer Tip # 258
31 January 2009

Quickly increase a list of numbers by one
(Excel 2000-2007)

Back in 2003 (!) I started my quest to make you fall in love with Excel's autofill handle (the small black square in the lower-right corner of a cell). With Excel's AutoFill feature, you can quickly create - for example - a list of the months "January, February, March, April, May," etc. or days "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday" etc. or a list of dates in sequential order. (See tip_22.php, tip_40.php, tip_49.php
and tip_81.php ; perhaps they're even more I'm not spotting on this sunny Saturday afternoon.)

Some of you might be using the obscure Auto Fill Options "smart tag" that appears just below your filled series, so that you can choose how the selection is filled. For example, when you drag a single number you can choose Fill Series to increase the number by one. But did you know you can also increment a single number in one go.

Here's how:

  1. Enter the first number.
  2. Point to the autofill handle (the small black square) in the lower-right corner of the cell. (The mouse pointer will appear as a thin black cross when it is properly positioned.)
  3. Press and hold down CTRL while you drag the fill handle and extend the selection until it includes the range of numbers that is to be filled.

Want to find out more of these sort of Excel tricks? Then sign up for one of our Excel courses, planned for Wednesday 18 February 2009. Feel you cannot spare the time? Well, they're only 3 hours. (How many pointless meetings last this long?!) Cannot spare the money? They're only 97 pounds! (See msexcgs.html and msexcfu.html for further information and booking details.)