How to Autofill Dates in Excel

Autofilling dates saves time and reduces manual input errors. Let me share 5 tips to help you autofill dates like an Excel boss!

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1. Drag Down the Fill Handle

With your date cell selected, hover over the bottom right corner until the cursor becomes a plus symbol. This is called the fill handle. If you left-click the handle and drag it down, Excel will autofill dates in sequential order all the way down to where you stop dragging.

Drag down the fill handle to autofill

2. Double-Click the Fill Handle

This only works if there is corresponding data in the column to the left of your date. If you double-click on the fill handle, Excel will autofill all the way down to the end of the contiguous data set. In other words, it will stop when there is a blank cell in the column to the left.

Double-click the fill handle to Autofill

3. Autofill with Copied Values Instead of Sequential

If you are looking to copy the same date all the way down instead of autofilling with sequential dates, you can start by doing either of the two options above and then choosing Copy Cells in the Autofill Options menu found in the little box that appears at the bottom right corner of the filled cells.

Choose Copy Cells in the Autofill Options menu

The result looks like this:

Copied down cells

You'll notice that the Autofill Options menu has some other cool items to choose from like filling only weekdays or filling sequential months or years. Here's how it looks when I choose Fill Months.

Fill sequential months using the Autofill Options Menu.

4. Ctrl + Drag to Copy Down

Another way to copy the cells down is to drag the fill handle down, as we did in the first tip, but press Ctrl before letting go.

Ctrl + Drag to copy down autofill

5. Drag to the Right to Fill Horizontally

You can also drag the fill handle to the right instead of down if you want to autofill horizontally.

Autofill horizontally

Bonus Tip: If you drag the fill handle to the left or upwards, the dates will autofill in REVERSE sequential order.

Autofill up for reverse sequential date order

Do you use autofill often? It's a great habit to get into.

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4 comments

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  • Always keen to see the tips you share.
    Excellently presented with precision and ease of understanding.
    A real asset to my day.
    Thank you!

  • I’ve been working with Excel for 25 years and can’t believe I didn’t know #4.
    Thank you, Jon!

  • My favorite method these days is to use SEQUENCE.
    =DATE(2023,2,6)+SEQUENCE(8,,0)
    This way I don’t have to start the beginning of a pattern in a few cells or hold/click a certain way to make it increment the way I want. It also means I can go horizontally…
    =DATE(2023,2,6)+SEQUENCE(,8,0)
    …or follow a particular patter such as weekly with ease…
    =DATE(2023,2,6)+SEQUENCE(8,,0,7)
    …or get a “block” of dates…
    =DATE(2023,2,6)+SEQUENCE(8,4,0)
    …or extend to additional dates without having to drag to more cells…
    =DATE(2023,2,6)+SEQUENCE(15,,0)

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