Microsoft Excel "Quick Tips"

Quickly Create A Series Of Dates

A few years ago I was talking to someone who worked at the same company as I did but in a different department. She asked me to help her with one of her spreadsheets. As I was showing her how to do what she had asked about, I noticed that her worksheet contained a long list of dates (every two weeks). The strange thing to me was that all these dates were entered as strings of text rather than dates. I asked her how she came up with all these dates and she told me that it takes her several hours to look up the dates on a calendar and enter the dates in her worksheet. That was the last time she did that.

Here's the trick I showed her to enter all those dates in a couple of seconds.

When you need to enter a series of dates in your workbook, for example a list of bi-weekly paydays, there are several ways to do it. Here is a simple and fast one I use all the time.

  1. First enter your starting date in a cell (i.e. June 6, 2003).
  2. Now enter the next date in the series (June 20, 2003) in the next cell down
  3. Select those two cells
  4. Move your cursor over the bottom-right corner of the selected cells and the cursor will change to a black plus sign
  5. Click and hold your left mouse button and drag down as far as you want your series to go. You'll notice a little pop-up next to the cursor showing the date you have filled to
  6. When you get to the end date you need, release the mouse button and there is your series of dates in an instant.

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