Excel Auto-Fill Not Working Properly

New subscriber Patrick wrote for help with a Microsoft Excel problem:

Hi Terry:

I’m wondering if you can help me with a mouse problem I have. In Excel, I want to have dates going across horizontally in the mmm-yy format (Jan-08, Feb-08, etc).

I have inputted Jan-08 in a cell, and I have tried clicking on the bottom corner of the cell and drag it across (in order to auto-fill and extend the series ie: Feb-08, Mar-08, etc). My problem is that when I move the mouse across with the left mouse button still held down, it doesn’t work (ie no auto-fill).

Another problem I have in Excel is when I click on a cell, it some times comes up as if I double clicked on it (the cursor appears inside the cell for you to input data). Is there a problem with my mouse or my mouse settings?

I have gone into control panel/printers and other hardware/mouse, and have looked at all the menu tabs (mouse properties) but did not see anything that would cause this. I am running on Windows XP, using Logitech wireless keyboard and wireless mouse.



Patrick didn’t quite give me enough information, so I had to gues that his Excel versison was Excel 2003, since he was running Windows XP. Of course, he could have been running Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2007 insead of Excel 2003.

The fix for Patrick’s problem is on Excel’s AutoFill menu, which is hidden.

With the left mouse button, grab the handle at the bottom right-hand corner of the cell that has the value that you want Excel tto treat as the initial value in the series.and drag it.

Tech Tip
The "handle" for the cell shows when you select a single cell or block of cells. The bottom right-hand corner of the selected cell or area has a small box instead of a corner — that’s the handle.

Before letting go of the left mouse button, drag it sligtly down towards the bottom of the screen.

Excel will display the AutoFill menu, as shown in the image below:

The key is to make sure that "Fill Series" is picked.

Patrick wrote back to say:

Thanks, that solved the problem.



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  1. I have been using excel spreadsheets but suddenly it has stopped calculating the amounts in columns. it won’t calculate the amount in the columns, won’t add the columns together and won’t transfer the amounts to another sheet, it is office 2003 on an xp system

    • Does the same thing happen when you create a new spreadsheet with new formulas?

      I suspect that you have copied a section of a spreadsheet and pasted it into a new Excel file. Either that, or accidentally copied and pasted “as values” into the same spreadsheet.

      When you paste into a different Excel file, Excel pastes “as values” rather than pasting formulas, as it would within the same spreadsheet file.

      If that’s not it, look at your formulas. If they look ok, delete the malfunctioning formula and then re-enter the formula again.


      • Hi Terry,
        I have tried re entering the formulas but that doesn’t seem to work, it does not happen when creating a new worksheet just on this particular work book which my accounts with links to different sheets within the workbook

        • Check your Recalculation setting. Did your spreadsheet get so complicated that you shifted to Manual Recalculation?

          If you’re not sure where the setting is, check Excel’s Help function. Sorry, I’m not running Excel 2003 any more so I can’t check.


  2. When I drag and pull to fill series, everything is grayerd out except for copy cells. Any suggestions?

    Mary Rose

  3. Check to see if your spreadsheet, or that page of your spreadsheet, is protected. Then, unprotect it.


  4. can auto fill be done automatically instead of dragging, when i change the formula in the first cell, can the formula be taken automatically for rest of the cells down the column without me needed to drag the fill handle?

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