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Tutorial: Using Flash Fill in Excel

This feature is awesome! Discover how to use Flash Fill in Microsoft Excel to quickly reformat, split, or combine data in your spreadsheet. By Sean McManus, from the book 100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel

Introduced in Excel 2013, Flash Fill recognizes patterns in data based on neighboring cells. It's much more sophisticated than Auto Fill. You can use it, for example, to reformat text and split or combine data. Here's an example.

  1. You might have a list of names, with the first name and last name combined. For the first row, type the first and second names into the next cells. This is how you teach Excel the pattern to copy.

    screenshot of Excel showing how to set up Flash Fill

  2. Position your cursor in the empty first name cell for the second name.

  3. Press Ctrl + E or click the Flash Fill button on the ribbon. Find it by clicking the Data tab, then looking in the Data Tools.

    screenshot of Excel showing Flash Fill option on menu

  4. The first name column is then automatically filled out for you. Check the results look okay, and then do the same for the last name column.

Where next?

About 100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel

This tutorial is from 100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel. The powerful pocketbook helps you to learn more from your data, be more productive with Excel, and improve the accuracy of your spreadsheets. It's packed with shortcuts, tips, and hacks for Excel that solve everyday business problems. Find out more and download a free PDF sampler here, and order the book online here.

Book cover: 100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel

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