How Do You Enter The Same Material Into Multiple Cells Quickly?
If you want to enter something in cell A1, and have the same value or formula extend down to A20, how would you do it? Here are three methods that are commonly used:
- Copy and Paste (copy A1, then select A2:A20, and hit paste)
- Autofill (drag what you’ve entered in A1 all the way down through A20 using the autofill handle (or by double-clicking in some cases))
- Ctrl+D (fill-down shortcut — you enter into A1, then select A1:A20 and hit Ctrl+D)
Ctrl+Enter: A Less Common, But More Useful Fourth Way
Here’s a fourth one that’s simple, yet not as commonly used — and you’ll see that it’s also faster and more flexible:
So how does Ctrl+Enter work?
Simple: just select your whole range BEFORE you start typing. Then, after you’re done typing, hit Ctrl+Enter instead of Enter.
According to Microsoft, Ctrl+Enter “Fills the selected cell range with the current entry.” So:
Fill the selected cell range with the current entry: Ctrl+Enter
Ctrl+Enter Is Faster And More Flexible
In the A1:A20 example, Ctrl+Enter is only three steps (select A1:A20, type content, hit Ctrl+Enter). The other three methods are either four steps (Autofill and Ctrl+D) or six steps (Copy & Paste) (try it yourself if you don’t believe me). See below:
Unlike with Autofill and Ctrl+D, you can use Ctrl+Enter across columns, rows, rectangular ranges, and even non-contiguous ranges. You can do the same with Copy & Paste — but Ctrl+Enter is fewer steps.
Let’s take an example of entering the same thing into two non-contiguous cells. You can’t do that with Ctrl+D or AutoFill. But you can with Copy & Paste, so let’s compare the number of required steps. Copy & Paste is six steps, while Ctrl+Enter is only four.
Here’s Copy & Paste — 6 steps:
- Type value/formula
- Go back to cell
- Select new cell
Here’s Ctrl+Enter — 4 steps:
- Select first cell
- Select second cell
- Type value/formula
- Hit Ctrl+Enter
Conclusion: Excel Ctrl+Enter Is Fast & Flexible, So Use it!
Ctrl+Enter seems counter-intuitive at first, but well worth the habit change.