How To Use Flash Fill In Excel

Flash Fill can be used in Microsoft 365, Excel 2021,  and Mac Excel 2019

What is Flash Fill? Well, I am glad you asked. Flash Fill is very helpful and it will allow you to fill your data when it senses a pattern in Excel. For instance, you can use a Flash Fill to separate first and last names from a single column. It can also combine first and last names from two different columns. You all know that I absolutely love anything that saves time and keystrokes and this is a really good example of that.

So, say you have a new worksheet in Excel and column A contains first names, column B contains last names, and you would like to fill column C with first and last names combined. All you have to do is establish a pattern by keying in the full name in column C and Excel’s Flash Fill feature will fill in the rest for you based on the pattern you provide.

Follow the steps below to learn how:

  1. Enter the full name in cell C2 and press ENTER.
  2. Start keying in the next full name in cell C3 and Excel will sense the pattern you provide, and offer you a preview of the rest of the column filled in with your combined text.
  3. To accept the preview, simply press ENTER.

If Flash Fill does not generate the preview, it may be that you do not have it turned on. Go to Data Tools | Flash Fill to run it manually, or press the shortcut CTRL + E.

To turn on Flash Fill, go to Tools | Options | Advanced | Editing Options | check Automatically Flash Fill.

It is quick and easy and I think you are going to save a lot of time and keystrokes now!

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