An Auto Complete Alternative In Excel

In this tutorial we are going to look at the Auto Complete option in Excel, and a very useful and time-saving feature that Excel offers.

You can download the file here and follow along. When you get a preview, look for Download in the upper right hand corner.

Here I have a data set that contains various columns of information:

If I want to enter more lines at the bottom of the range, and want Excel to Auto Complete the information, I need to make sure Auto Complete is turned on. Just go to File > Options > Advanced and look for “Enable Auto Complete for cell values”:

Now when I enter an “n”, New Orleans will auto complete. Or if I enter an “a”, Austin will fill in. But in order to have Excel auto complete “Tulsa”, I need to type in “tul” because I also have “Tuscon” in my list and Excel needs to see a unique entry before it will Auto Compete:

Now, I want to enter additional lines of data to include the model numbers in column A. Since there are so many similar model numbers, I need to enter almost all the characters before Excel will Auto Complete them:

One alternative is to find a cell above that contains the next model number I want to enter and then use the copy and paste functions, but even this is limited in its time-saving capacity.

The answer is to use the keyboard shortcut Alt + Down Arrow (hold down the Alt key they hit the down arrow). Excel will then present a short list of only the unique items in the column above. You can then click on or scroll down to the selection needed and hit enter:

Now you can easily breeze through your selections while Excel’s Auto Complete option fills in the required selection!

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