How to Use Flash Fill in Excel 2013

How to Use the New Feature Flash Fill in Excel 2013

Aug. 26, 2014 2:25 pm / Posted by Michael Eric to Office Tricks
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"How to use Flash Fill in Excel 2013?"

Some of the most time consuming and irritating aspects of Excel are working with repetitive information. This included writing formulas, formatting, separating dates, and entering names and email addresses manually. Fortunately, the Flash Fill feature introduced with Microsoft Excel's 2013 edition makes these tasks easier with brilliant automatic filling.

Excel 2013's great new Flash Fill feature gives you the ability to take a part of the data entered into one column of a worksheet table and enter just that data in a new table column using only a few keystrokes.

This post is focused on how you can use Excel 2013's Flash Fill. Check it right now.

How to Make Flash Fill Work?

Part I: Splitting columns

  • Step 1. Launch Excel 2013.
  • Step 2. Open a Document with data in a column you wish to replicate in another column.

    how to make flash fill work
  • Step 3. In this case, we want to fill in the First Name, Middle Name and Last Name columns without having to type in all the data again. To do the First Name column, we will go to cell B2 and type John and then click Enter.

    how to use flash fill in excel 2013
  • Step 4. When you click Enter after entering John, Excel will move you to cell B3. Just type the first letter B and it will activate the Flash Fill feature.

    guide on using flash fill in excel 2013
  • Step 5. Click Enter and the entire Column will be filled. A small icon will appear which you can use to access the Flash Fill options in case you wish to undo the action.

    how to make flash fill work

Part II: Format numbers like 123-45-6789

Insert a new column between SSN and Last Name and title it "SSN".

  • Step 1. Make sure the inserted column is wide enough to display the formatted value (80 pixels should be enough; this isn't required to use Flash Fill, but it looks better that way).
  • Step 2. Type the first social security number in B2, with hyphens: 413-66-4341.

    how to use flash fill in excel 2013
  • Step 3. Start typing the second SSN value: 2 and then it will activate the feature. Just click Enter if you gonna choose the one.

Part III: Extracting Email Address

With the Flash Fill feature, extracting text before the @symbol from address is simple.

guide on using flash fill in excel 2013

Here I'm not about to give detailed steps for this because getting the desired results is very straight forward, once you know how to trigger Flash Fill.

Apart from these 3 parts, you can still convert DOB from 19610222 to 2/22/1961 and format phone numbers like (206) 555-1212.

Note that Flash Fill cannot recognize source data modification. If you apply Flash Fill on source data and then try to modify the source data, Flash Fill cannot recognize the changers and make modifications in available results as Excel formulas do. Therefore, it is best to use Flash Fill with data which is not going to be modified in the future.

After you learn the guide on using Flash Fill in Excel 2013, you can enjoy it freely. Other tips for Excel 2013, like how to password protect Excel 2013, click to learn.

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