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Filling empty cells using Flash Fill

From: Office 2013 New Features

Video: Filling empty cells using Flash Fill

The first new feature we're going to explore here in Excel 2013 is a huge timesaver. It's called Flash Fill and it will help you to fill in empty cells in a spreadsheet based on patterns that already exist. To show you what I'm talking about, we will work with this file named, No Obstacle Sport Customer Database. Once you've open it from the exercise files, we'll just zoom out to about 100%, so we can see all of the columns in our spreadsheet. We have our First Name and Last Name column. What we're missing is log in information. This is the information our customers will use to access our website, let's say.

Filling empty cells using Flash Fill

The first new feature we're going to explore here in Excel 2013 is a huge timesaver. It's called Flash Fill and it will help you to fill in empty cells in a spreadsheet based on patterns that already exist. To show you what I'm talking about, we will work with this file named, No Obstacle Sport Customer Database. Once you've open it from the exercise files, we'll just zoom out to about 100%, so we can see all of the columns in our spreadsheet. We have our First Name and Last Name column. What we're missing is log in information. This is the information our customers will use to access our website, let's say.

So, we'll just type in a heading here in cell G6, type in Login. Press Enter and we're ready to start creating the login credential. Let's say it's going to be a combination of their First Name, Last Name and some additional information. So for our first customer, we'll type in their first name, evan. Let's use a period dot, santos, then the @ sign. We'll type in No-Obstacles-Inc.com. That's a bit of data to type in for every single customer. So, when we press Enter and it gets formatted automatically like an email address, that's perfect.

We're on to the next one now. We have to repeat this for a couple hundred customers. Look what happens though, when we start to type in the next first name, which is micah, mi, well it's automatically filling in the rest of the information for me in that cell. If you look at subsequent rows down below, it's going to be filled in the exact same way if we hit Enter. So, let's do that. We press Enter and there they are. We just saved a lot of time. Now, there is a little icon that pops up here, the Flash Fill options button that we can click. If we don't like the results, we can undo the Flash Fill or maybe we don't want it to automatically pick up the pattern.

Here's where you go to turn that off. If you like everything, you can click Accept Suggestions. And if you wanted to, you can reformat all of those cells by using the Select all, changed cells, in this case a 199. They'd all be highlighted or selected so we could do things to those cells. Let's just click Accept Suggestions and that little icon disappears. So, all we need to do now is make sure that column G is wide enough for our longest entry. We'll go in between G and H up here and double-click and there we go. Now, that's one example of Flash Fill where it's combining the contents of two separate cells.

We can also do the reverse and that is to split up the information. For example, let's say we didn't have the First Name and Last Name. Over here on the right-hand side, we'll experiment. Let's just scroll over so we're looking at two columns, H and I. Here's where we want to put in their First Name and here's where we want to put in their Last Name. So, just type it in, tab across. We're ready to start typing now. So it will be based on information. Let's say we downloaded this information including email addresses and we want to create a First Name and Last Name columns. In this case, we'll type in Evan, hit Enter.

Next, First Name is Micah. We'll type that in. You can see what's happening. It's picking up the pattern even the capital that we're adding to the beginning of the First Name. All we have to do is hit Enter now to accept all of those names. Do the same for the Last Name. In this case, Santos with a capital; press Enter. The next one is Harvey. Again, as we start to type, the Flash Fill kicks in, we press Enter and everything is filled in for us. What a huge timesaver that can be, if you have spreadsheets where you're going to be filling an empty cells based on existing patterns in the spreadsheet.

We don't really need these two columns, so let's go up to H, drag across to I, hit Delete on the keyboard and press your Home key on the keyboard to go back to the very top of your spreadsheet. That's the Flash Fill feature brand new here in Excel 2013. It has the potential to save you a lot of time and stress.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Office 2013 New Features

44 video lessons · 18669 viewers

David Rivers
Author

 
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  1. 1m 38s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      35s
  2. 16m 49s
    1. Exploring the new user interface
      4m 57s
    2. Integrating with the cloud
      3m 42s
    3. Exploring Touch mode
      2m 53s
    4. Using the bookmark feature
      2m 18s
    5. Customizing the Ribbon with display options
      2m 59s
  3. 27m 44s
    1. Inserting online video
      4m 4s
    2. Editing PDF documents
      4m 58s
    3. Inserting and reading comments
      2m 55s
    4. Tracking changes and conversations
      2m 19s
    5. Using Read mode for longer documents
      4m 14s
    6. Using object zoom in Read mode
      1m 53s
    7. Exploring new templates in Word
      2m 47s
    8. Inserting objects with onscreen alignment guides
      4m 34s
  4. 28m 25s
    1. Filling empty cells using Flash Fill
      3m 38s
    2. Filtering records using a Timeline
      3m 11s
    3. Previewing with Quick Analysis
      4m 34s
    4. Using Chart Advisor recommendations
      2m 43s
    5. Finding errors and issues with Power view
      6m 16s
    6. Converting roman numerals into arabic numbers
      2m 42s
    7. Protecting data in a shared spreadsheet
      5m 21s
  5. 33m 36s
    1. Working with new templates
      3m 29s
    2. Exploring the new Presenter view
      3m 45s
    3. Using color adjustments
      2m 59s
    4. Inserting new charts
      8m 37s
    5. Positioning objects with various guides
      2m 50s
    6. Exploring new transition effects
      2m 55s
    7. Creating a custom shape
      4m 31s
    8. Playing an audio track across multiple slides
      4m 30s
  6. 7m 2s
    1. Exploring changes to the user interface
      3m 23s
    2. Exploring the new Access templates
      3m 39s
  7. 8m 48s
    1. Inserting online pictures into a publication
      3m 10s
    2. Using the scratch area for inserting images
      3m 30s
    3. Creating JPEGs with the Save for Photo Printing option
      2m 8s
  8. 18m 27s
    1. Exploring the new user interface
      4m 30s
    2. Changing views
      4m 8s
    3. Embedding files in a notebook
      3m 31s
    4. Linking notes to your Outlook calendar
      3m 57s
    5. Inserting a screenshot
      2m 21s
  9. 8m 8s
    1. Exploring the user interface and some sneak peeks
      3m 35s
    2. Using the Weather bar
      1m 42s
    3. Connecting to social networks
      2m 51s
  10. 29s
    1. Next steps
      29s

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