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Weekly Computer Tip # 81
17 September 2004

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Create a custom fill series (Microsoft Excel)

It?s been a hectic couple of weeks and I'm off to Texas for work tomorrow, which is why this week's tip is short and a day early. It's inspired by the feedback on the evaluation forms of Wednesday?s Hands Off Excel with Excel seminar. "Happy sheets" they?re sometimes referred to and happy they were ... "I found the seminar extremely interesting and a very different way of learning. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who uses Excel and wants to progress using the various functions to a greater degree. I enjoyed the day and even found time to look through the folder at home in the evening. I would not hesitate to go on another hands-off course."

But back to this week's tip which resulted from the question "What is your favourite tip you picked up today." F4, F11, autofill?s right-click options. (Remember any of these? Hint: it has something to do with absolute addresses, charts and weekdays; see tip 18, 49 and 73). But another favourite one was so-called "Custom Lists". As you may know some lists come with Excel, such as the days of the week and the months of the year. Combining this with Excel's AutoFill feature, you can quickly enter data into a group of cells. For example, the single entry "January" would generate the series "January, February, March, April, May," etc. However,

Did you know ...

You can create your own lists to fill a column in a repeating pattern; for example, North, South, East, West or the names of your 20-odd clubs (odd, as in being in excess of the indicated number, and not odd as in strange). You can create a custom fill series from existing items that you've listed on a worksheet, or you can type the list from scratch.

Here's how:

  1. If you've already entered the list of items you want to use as a series, select the list on the worksheet.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Custom Lists tab.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To use the selected list, click Import.
    • To type a new list, select New list in the Custom lists box, and then type the entries in the List entries box, beginning with the first entry. Press ENTER after each entry. When the list is complete, click Add.
  4. Click OK.

Your own list is now ready for use with the AutoFill feature. Happiness is ...

Until next week.

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September 2004