Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Taking the Drudgery out of Data Entry
Rather than manually enter the first, middle, or last names in the respective
columns (or attempt to copy the entire client name from column A and then
edit out the parts not needed in First Name, Middle Name, and Last Name
columns), you can use Flash Fill to quickly and effectively do the job. And here’s
how you do it:
1. Type Keith in cell B2 and complete the entry with the or Enter key.
When you complete this entry with the down-arrow key or Enter key on
your keyboard, Excel moves the cell pointer to cell B3 where you only
have to type the first letter of the next name for Flash Fill to get the
2. In Cell B3, only type J, the first letter of the second client’s first name.
Flash Fill immediately does an AutoFill-type maneuver by suggesting the
rest of the second client’s first name, Jonas, as the text to enter in this
cell. At the same time, Flash Fill suggests entering all the remaining first
names from the full names in column A in column B (see Figure 2-13).
3. Complete the entry of Jonas in cell B3 by pressing the Enter key or an
arrow key.
The moment you complete the data entry in cell B3, the First Name
column’s done: Excel enters all the other first names in column B at the
same time!
To complete this example name table by entering the middle and last names
in columns C and D, respectively, you simply repeat these steps in those
columns. You enter the first middle name, Austen , from cell A2 in cell C2
and then type W in cell C3. Complete the entry in cell C3 and the middle
name entries in that column are done. Likewise, you enter the first last name,
Harper , from cell A2 in cell D2 and then type S in cell D3. Complete the entry
in cell D3, and the last name entries for column D are done, completing the
entire data table.
By my count, completing the data entry in this Client Name table required
me to make a total of 26 keystrokes, 20 of which were for typing in the first,
middle, and last name of the first client along with the initial letters of the
first, middle, and last name of the second client and the other six to complete
these entries. If Column A of this Client Name table contains the full names
of hundreds or even thousands of clients, these 26 keystrokes is insignificant
compared to the number that would be required to manually enter their first,
middle, and last names in its separate First Name, Middle Name, and Last
Name columns or even to edit down copies of the full names in each of them.
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