Spreadsheets: Getting Started, Part IV

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IV. Key Mouse Operations
     Move a Cell or Range
    Copy Data
     Filling & Extending

 

Move a Cell or Range

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Select the cell or range you want to move. When selected, it should appear in reverse video. Position the mouse pointer at the edge of the cell or range so it turns into an arrow. Hold down the left-hand mouse button and drag the selection to its new location. Release the mouse button. The cell or range is still selected. Click anywhere out of the cell or range to de-select it.

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Copy Data

Similar to moving a cell or range. Select the cell or range you want to copy. Position the mouse pointer at the edge of the cell or range so it turns into an arrow. Hold down the CTRL key and hold down the left-hand mouse button. (Note the small plus sign displays above the mouse arrow pointer as a visual reminder that this is a copy operation, not just a move.) Drag the selection to create a copy in a new location. Release the mouse button. Then click anywhere out of the cell or range to de-select it.

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Filling & Extending

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This section describes two variations on copying: "Filling" and "Extending". Both methods start with a source cell or range to copy and copy to contiguous cells.

Filling is repeating cell contents. The results are most like the copy operation. To copy by filling:

1. - Select the source cell or range to copy.
2. - Position the mouse pointer on the fill box in the lower-right-hand corner of the cell or range. (The fill box is visible as a small, dark box at the lower right-hand corner of the selection, as seen in Cell A3 in the illustration below) . When positioned over the fill box, the pointer should turn into a thin filled crosshair.

3. - Hold down the left-hand mouse button and drag to the right so the range now extends to the next column (or columns).
4. - The contents of the source cell or range are repeated in the adjacent location you indicated.
5. - Click any cell to deselect and turn off reverse video.

In the example illustrated above, the fill box at the lower right corner of cell A3 was dragged two columns to the right.

Extending is similar to filling. It also starts with the source data but instead of copying it extends the data in a logical progression. That is:

1. - Select the source cell or range to extend.
2. - Position the mouse pointer on the fill box in the lower-right-hand corner of the cell or range. When positioned over the fill box the pointer will display as a thin filled crosshair.
3. - Hold down the left-hand mouse button and drag to the right so the range now extends to the next column (or columns).

The difference between filling and extending is that after you extend the source cell or range the cells you've filled with data don't hold the same thing as the source cells. They're not just a copy because Excel extends the data in a logical fashion.

For example:

 

If the source cell(s) hold(s):

The contiguous extended cells hold:

Qtr1

Qtr2, Qtr3, Qtr4, Qtr1, Qtr2, etc.

Jan

Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, etc.

1994, 1995

1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, etc.

In the third example in the table above, we needed to provide Excel at least two cells worth of source data so it would know how to extend the data. A variety of progressions are possible if you give Excel a sample of how you want it to proceed.

For example:

If the source cell(s) hold(s):

The contiguous extended cells hold:

2000, 1999

1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, etc.

.2, .4

.6, .8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, etc.

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