How to Auto Fill in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Auto-filling in Google Sheets is a handy trick for anyone who wants to save time and effort when working with data. Whether you need to copy down a formula, fill in dates, or replicate a pattern, auto-fill makes it quick and easy. Let’s get started on how to auto-fill in Google Sheets, shall we?

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Auto Fill in Google Sheets

Before we dive into the steps, let’s talk about what we’re aiming to achieve here. Auto-filling in Google Sheets can mean several things: copying a formula down a column, filling in a series of numbers or dates, or replicating a pattern of data. These steps will guide you through each of these scenarios.

Step 1: Select the Cell or Range of Cells

Select the cell or range of cells that you want to auto-fill.
Keep in mind that if you’re copying a formula, you only need to select the cell with the formula. If you’re filling in a series or pattern, select the cells that establish the pattern you want to replicate.

Step 2: Locate the Fill Handle

Find the small square at the bottom right corner of the selected cell or range. This is the fill handle.
When you hover over the fill handle, your cursor will change to a plus sign. This indicates that you’re ready to use the auto-fill feature.

Step 3: Click, Drag, and Drop

Click on the fill handle, drag it across the cells you want to fill, and then drop it.
As you drag the fill handle, you’ll see a preview of the data that will be filled in. This helps you ensure you’re filling the correct cells.

Step 4: Check the Auto-Fill Options

After dropping the fill handle, an auto-fill options box may appear, giving you choices for how the data is filled.
The options vary depending on the type of data you’re auto-filling. For example, if you’re auto-filling dates, you might see options to fill weekdays only or to fill a series of months.

Once you’ve completed the auto-fill, you’ll see that the selected data has been copied or filled down the column or across the row. This can be a real time-saver, especially when dealing with large amounts of data.

Tips for Auto Fill in Google Sheets

  • Double-clicking the fill handle will automatically fill down the data to the last row of data adjacent to the column you’re filling.
  • If you’re filling in a numeric series, such as 1, 2, 3, make sure at least two numbers are selected to establish the pattern.
  • Use the Ctrl (Cmd on Mac) key while dragging the fill handle to alter the behavior of the auto-fill feature.
  • If you encounter issues with auto-filling formulas, ensure that your cell references are correct (absolute versus relative).
  • Experiment with the auto-fill options to see how different settings change the way data is filled.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I auto-fill non-adjacent cells?

Yes, you can. Select the cells while holding down the Ctrl (or Cmd) key, then drag the fill handle of the last cell selected.

Can I use auto-fill for dates and times?

Absolutely! Auto-fill works great with dates and times, allowing you to fill in every day, weekday, month, etc.

What if auto-fill isn’t working as expected?

Double-check your data pattern and ensure you don’t have any merged cells, as this can interfere with the auto-fill.

Can I undo an auto-fill action?

Yes, simply press Ctrl + Z (Cmd + Z on Mac) to undo the last auto-fill action.

How do I auto-fill without overwriting existing data?

Be cautious while dragging the fill handle and keep an eye on the preview. If you release over existing data, it will be overwritten.


  1. Select the cell or range of cells.
  2. Locate the fill handle.
  3. Click, drag, and drop.
  4. Check the auto-fill options.


Auto-filling in Google Sheets is like having a little helper who takes the grunt work out of data entry. It’s a feature that, once mastered, can significantly speed up your workflow and reduce the potential for manual errors. From filling in formulas to creating seamless patterns, auto-fill adapts to your needs and gets smarter the more you use it. Whether you’re a spreadsheet newbie or a seasoned data cruncher, don’t shy away from embracing this handy tool. And hey, if you ever stumble or need to refine your auto-fill technique, remember that practice makes perfect, and Google Sheets is always ready for another round. Now go on, give it a twirl and watch your productivity soar!