Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Using AutoComplete to Automate Data Entry
Using AutoComplete to Automate Data Entry
Excel’s AutoComplete feature makes it easy to enter the same text into multiple cells. With
AutoComplete, you type the first few letters of a text entry into a cell and Excel automatically
completes the entry, based on other entries that you already made in the column. In addition to
reducing typing, this feature ensures that your entries are spelled correctly and are consistent.
Here’s how it works. Suppose that you’re entering product information in a column. One product
is named Sugar-Free Snaphylytes. The first time that you enter Sugar-Free Snaphylytes into a
cell, Excel remembers it. Later, when you start typing the words Sugar-Free Snaphylytes into that
column, Excel recognizes the word by the first few letters and finishes typing it for you. Just
press Enter, and you’re done.
AutoComplete also changes the case of letters for you automatically. If you start entering sugar
(with a lowercase s) in the second entry, Excel makes the s uppercase, to be consistent with the
previous entry in the column.
If the column contains multiple entries that match on the first few characters, Excel doesn’t
display a suggestion until your entry matches one of them uniquely. For example, if the column also
contains a product named Sugar-Free Marpinettes, AutoComplete doesn’t kick in until you type
either the first letter of Snaphylytes or the first letter of Marpinettes.
You also can access a mouse-oriented version of AutoComplete by right-clicking the
cell and choosing Pick from Drop-Down List from the shortcut menu. Excel then
displays a drop-down list that has all the entries in the current column, and you just click
the one you want. See Figure 32-1.
You can even access the drop-down list from the keyboard: Press Shift+F10 to display
the shortcut menu, and then press k (the hotkey for Pick from List). Use the arrow
keys to make your selection and then press Enter.
Keep in mind that AutoComplete works only within a contiguous column of cells. If you have a
blank row, for example, AutoComplete looks only at the cell contents below the blank row.
If you find the AutoComplete feature distracting, you can turn it off, on the Advanced tab of the
Excel Options dialog box (choose File
Options). The setting, labeled Enable AutoComplete for
Cell Values, is in the Editing Options section.
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