How to Use Google Sheets Autofill Feature: A Step-by-Step Guide

Google Sheets autofill is a nifty little feature that can save you loads of time when working with data. Simply put, it allows you to automatically fill in a series of cells with a pattern you establish. For example, if you’re entering a list of dates into a spreadsheet, you can use autofill to quickly populate the cells with every subsequent date. It’s quite the time-saver, isn’t it? Now, let’s dive into how you can use this tool effectively.

Step by Step Tutorial on Using Google Sheets Autofill

Before we start autofilling like there’s no tomorrow, it’s crucial to understand what these upcoming steps will help you achieve. By following them, you’ll learn how to use autofill to repeat patterns in your data—be it numbers, text, dates, or formulas. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be filling sheets faster than you can say “spreadsheet superstar”.

Step 1: Select the Cell(s) with the Initial Data

Start by clicking on the cell, or dragging across multiple cells, that contain the data you want to autofill.

When you select the cells, make sure they have the pattern you want to replicate. This could be as simple as a number sequence or a more complex formula. The key is that Google Sheets needs this pattern to determine what to autofill.

Step 2: Look for the Fill Handle

Once selected, pay attention to a little square in the bottom-right corner of the cell or range of cells. That’s called the fill handle.

The fill handle is your ticket to autofill town. It might look unassuming, but it’s super powerful. When you see it, you know you’re ready for the next step.

Step 3: Click and Drag the Fill Handle

Now, click on that fill handle and drag it across the cells you want to fill.

As you drag the fill handle, you’ll see a preview of what the cells will contain once you let go. This helps you ensure you’re autofilling the right data before you commit to it.

Step 4: Release the Mouse Button

After dragging the fill handle to cover all the cells you want to fill, let go of the mouse button.

And voilà! Your cells are now filled with the data pattern you selected. It’s like magic, but better—because it’s spreadsheet magic!

After completing these steps, you’ll see that the selected pattern has been replicated across the cells you chose. This can be especially helpful if you’re dealing with large datasets or need to quickly create an organized structure within your spreadsheet. It’s a simple process that can have a big impact on your productivity.

Tips for Using Google Sheets Autofill

  • When autofilling dates, Google Sheets can recognize different patterns, such as daily, weekly, or monthly increments. Play around with it!
  • If you’re filling a series and want to change the increment (say, counting by twos instead of ones), enter the first two numbers of the series before using autofill.
  • Use autofill for formulas, too. It adjusts cell references automatically, saving you the headache of updating each cell.
  • If autofill isn’t working as expected, double-check your initial pattern. Sometimes an errant entry can throw off the whole sequence.
  • Remember that autofill can also be used to fill in custom lists you’ve created in your Google Sheets settings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Google Sheets Autofill Handle Complex Patterns?

Yes, Google Sheets is pretty smart when it comes to recognizing patterns. It can handle more complex sequences like dates, formulas, and even custom lists you’ve defined.

I Accidentally Autofilled the Wrong Data. Can I Undo It?

Absolutely! Just hit Ctrl + Z (or Cmd + Z on a Mac) to undo your last action.

How Do I Create a Custom Autofill List?

Go to your Google Sheets settings, and you should find an option for creating custom lists. Once you’ve set these up, autofill will recognize them.

What If Autofill Is Not Working?

Make sure your initial selection contains a clear pattern and that you’re dragging the fill handle correctly. If it’s still not working, check Google Sheets support for troubleshooting tips.

Can Autofill Work with Alphabetical Data?

Yes, autofill can replicate alphabetical data and even recognize some patterns, like days of the week or months.


  1. Select the Cell(s) with the Initial Data
  2. Look for the Fill Handle
  3. Click and Drag the Fill Handle
  4. Release the Mouse Button


There you have it, folks—your comprehensive guide to using Google Sheets autofill. This feature is truly a game-changer when it comes to working with data efficiently. It’s like having a trusty sidekick in the digital realm, ready to take on the monotonous task of data entry so you can focus on the more creative aspects of your work.

Think about all the time you’ll save, and the potential errors you’ll avoid, by employing this simple yet powerful tool. The possibilities are endless, whether you’re a student organizing research data, a small business owner keeping track of expenses, or a data analyst crunching numbers.

And remember, like any good tool, it takes a bit of practice to wield it with expert precision. So don’t be discouraged if your first few attempts don’t go as planned. Keep at it, and soon you’ll be autofilling like a pro.

If you ever find yourself stuck or needing a refresher, just come back to this article. We’ve covered the basics, provided some handy tips, and answered those burning questions. Now, it’s just a matter of putting that knowledge into action.

So go on, give it a whirl. And may your cells always be perfectly filled!

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