Keep It Blank

Here’s another tip that stems from my file of reader questions. Ever have MS Excel data filling every other row? You know, with a row of data, blank row then another row of data?

Ever try using the fill handle to drag data down a column? What happened?

Yep, that’s right. To your complete horror, you filled every row!

So, now what? Do you add data by hand from now on or do you go back and manually delete the unwanted data?

May I suggest that we choose neither of these time consuming methods?

Instead, I’d like to propose that we simply alter the way we start our fill. With just one small adjustment at the beginning, all of our trouble with the blank lines will never even exist!

Here’s the deal. Usually, to start the fill, you select the cell containing the data, then click on the fill handle (the small black square in the bottom right corner of the cell selection outline) and drag.

Well, the cool thing about Excel and all of its fill handle pattern recognition abilities is that it can also recognize more than just the data pattern.

To keep the blank row between your data, highlight both the data cell and the cell below it that is to remain blank.

Now, when you click-hold-and-drag the fill handle, you’ll not only get the data fill, but Excel will also fill it in following the every other row pattern with which you began.

Give it a try. You’ll find that with just a little planning, the headache of extra data from a fill will never bother you again!

~ April