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How to enter custom patterns with the fill handle in Excel

In this lesson, we'll look at the fill handle's most powerful feature, it's ability to recognize and repeat custom patterns that you specify.

To use the fill handle to enter data following a custom pattern, start the pattern by entering data in at least two cells. Then, select those cells, and drag the fill handle to repeat the pattern.

Let's take a look.

To use the fill handle to enter a regular series of numbers, enter the first two numbers, select both cells, and drag the fill handle.

We can use the same approach to enter a list of odd numbers...

to count by eights...

or, any other repeatable sequence of numbers....

Note that the fill handle works in both directions. When we drag up, it repeats the pattern backwards.

You can also create a repeatable pattern using by combining text and numbers.

Custom patterns work with dates as well. In this case, April 1 and April 8 are Mondays, and the fill handle will count by 7, entering a series of Mondays.

We can use the same approach to enter a list of dates for the first day of each month

Or, the last day of each month:

Course 
Core Excel
Author 
Dave Bruns