Contextures News 20200428

Excel Dashboard and AutoFill Tricks

April 28, 2020

Dashboard, AutoFill tricks, and more, in this week's Excel news. Visit my Excel website for more tips, tutorials and videos, and check the index for past issues of this newsletter.

Note: For some products mentioned below, I earn a commission on sales. That helps support the free tutorials on my site.

AutoFill Tricks

When you're working in Excel, the active cell has a Fill Handle -- a small black square at its bottom right corner. When you point to the Fill Handle, the pointer changes to a small black plus sign.

You can drag or double-click that Fill Handle, to automatically create entries in the adjacent cells. Here are 3 quick AutoFill tricks.

fill handle and pointer

1) Fill Dates

To fill a series of dates in a column, follow these steps

  • In the starting cell, type the first date
    • Tip: Press Ctrl + ; (semi-colon) to enter the current date
  • Double-click on the Fill Handle, to AutoFill down to the first blank row
  • Then, if you want all the cells to have the same date, press Ctrl + D, to copy down

2) AutoFill Options

Instead of double-clicking the Fill Handle, you can drag it down.

  • Press the LEFT mouse button while you drag, to get the default fill setting
  • Press the RIGHT mouse button, and you'll see an options menu when you let go. The Weekday and Months options are real time savers!

autofill options for right mouse button

3) Insert or Delete

To insert or delete cells with the AutoFill handle, press the Shift key, then

  • Drag the Fill Handle away from the selected cells, to insert cells
  • Drag the Fill Handle over the selected cells, to delete them

There are more Data Entry Tips on my Contextures website.

autofill insert cells


Last week, I helped my daughter with an Excel project management workbook. The file was big and complicated, and the goal was to simplify things, and reduce errors and confusion.

Adding a dashboard can help with those goals, so I sent her a link to this new video from Mynda Treacy -- Excel Project Management Dashboard. The video is about 45 minutes long, and clearly explains the steps for setting up the dashboard, shown below. You'll get lots of great tips if you watch it.

Learn More: This week, you can get a 20% discount on Mynda's Excel courses, such as Power Query, Power BI, Excel Expert and Excel for Finance. She's an excellent teacher, so don't miss out on this deal!

project management dashboard

Excel Articles

Here are a few Excel-related articles that you might find useful or interesting.

Formulas: Yes, we get wind chill alerts in April, here in Canada. Kevin Lehrbass shows how you can calculate those temperatures with Excel formulas, in Fahrenheit and Celsius. (Level-Int/Adv)

Excel Resources: There's always something new to learn in Excel, so check out Rick and Jordan's list of 100+ best Excel websites and resources. (Level - All)

Excel Humour: See what people said about Excel recently. Could you talk about Excel for days?

Also see: My Excel Products || Previous Issues

Spring Flowers

There's not much happening in the garden yet, but a few of the spring bulbs have bloomed. These brave narcissuses (narcissi?) have survived several cold, windy days, and even a couple of light snowfalls. The rhubarb plant is sprouting too, and a clump of chives. And, of course, the lovage is back again -- nothing can kill that plant!

weekly photo

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That's it for this week! If you have any comments or questions, send me an email.

Debra Dalgleish

Debra Dalgleish

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Last updated: June 17, 2021 9:21 AM