Excel Yourself: Take control of your mouse

Excel Yourself

Excel has lots of keyboard shortcuts that use the Ctrl key. Did you know that you can also use the Ctrl key with the mouse?


Excel has many keyboard shortcuts that use the Ctrl key. Did you know that you can also use the Ctrl key with the mouse?

This extends the operations you can perform with the mouse. One technique involves using the Ctrl key with the Fill Handle.

The Fill Handle is that small cross at the bottom right-hand corner of a selected cell or range. See Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 1

When you use the mouse to drag the Fill Handle, Excel will either copy or increment, depending on the contents of the cell or range. In general, dates are incremented and numbers are copied.

When you hold the Ctrl key down when you drag the Fill Handle, Excel will perform the opposite operation to the default operation. So a copy becomes an increment and an increment becomes a copy

Excel displays a small cross next to the Fill Handle when you hold the Ctrl key down. See Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 2

This is an indication that Excel will be doing something different.

When you drag the Fill Handle, normally it will display the result in a tooltip. This value will change when you press the Ctrl key. See Figure 3


Note: It only changes once. If you press and release the Ctrl key and then press it again, the tooltip doesn't update.

Figure 3

Figure 3

You can drag the Fill Handle in four directions: up, down, left and right. In next week's tip, we will examine another way to use the Ctrl key with the mouse.

Neale Blackwood CPA runs A4 Accounting, providing Excel training, webinars and consulting services.

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