How to use Flash Fill in Excel 2013

By | 6th April 2015

Flash fill Excel 2013 is a new feature that was introduced only in this version. It is a very versatile automatic filling tool that allows you to specify any format for a text field such as a name and automatically apply that format to the rest of the entries in a column.

For example, if you have three columns each containing a first name, a second name and a middle name you can add another column to the right and get Excel 2013 to extract the information and format it the way you want.

You may decide that the middle name should be represented by an initial instead of the full name. If you were to apply this format to all the entries in a list it would be a tedious and time-consuming job, but Flash Fill can do it for us in a snap.

Using flash fill

Using Flash Fill to format names

To use Flash fill, all you have to do is enter the name in the first cell in the format that you want and press enter. When you start typing the name in the second row Excel should recognise the pattern and offer you suggestions for completing the remaining rows in the column.

How to use flash fill

Flash Fill Example 2013

You can change the format very easily by using Flash Fill. If the particular format that you have chosen is for whatever reason no longer suitable, just repeat the process starting from the first record.

You can also use Flash Fill to format names in a different way:Using Flash Fill to change the format of a name

Using flash fill in Excel 2013

You can also manually implement Flash fill by using the flash fill button on the data tab or by pressing Ctrl + E when you’re in the cell.This can include ignoring certain words entirely, changing the capitalization and abbreviating the word. If it doesn’t do this automatically the first or second time you try it, check that the feature is enabled in Excel 2013 options under the Advanced tab.

Using flash fill

If you want to read more about using Flash Fill Excel 2013 head on over to Excel Tutorial

Read more about using Flash Fill Excel 2013 in our Excel course outline

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