Free Software: Autofilling Cells in OpenOffice.org Calc
OpenOffice.org — a free alternative to Microsoft Office — includes Calc, a spreadsheet program similar to Excel. Calc provides an easy way to automatically create a column or row of numbers in any sequence you specify. This autofill feature is useful for creating numbered lists or filling out column and row headings of tables, such as mortgage tables, where each column and row heading specifies a new numerical value. And you can also use the autofill feature to copy and paste a value other than a number, such as text or a formula, into many cells.
Generating a consecutive sequence
To create a consecutive sequence (1, 2, 3, and so on), click in the cell where you want your sequence to begin, type the first number of your new sequence, and press Return. (You can start at any number you want.) Click in the cell again and then drag the small square in the lower right-hand corner of your active cell. This small square is called the automatic fill handle or autofill handle.
You can drag the autofill handle up, down, or sideways in either direction, creating the following results:
- Dragging down or right results in a column or row of consecutive numbers starting with the number in the active cell.
- Dragging up or left results in a column of consecutive numbers in reverse order, starting with the number in the active cell.
Generating any sequence
You can generate any sequence of numbers such as (1, 5, 10, 15, and so on or .001, 002, .003, and so on) using this autofilling feature. To automatically generate any sequence in a row or column of cells, do the following:
1. Type two numbers of the sequence in consecutive cells, such as 6000 in F20 and 6050 in F21.
2. Click in the first cell of your sequence; for example, either F20 or F21, depending on the direction you want to go, and drag to select the second cell.
3. Drag the autofill handle either up or down, in the same direction as your sequence.
The cells fill automatically in the sequence you typed in the original two cells. For example, selecting F20 and then F21 and dragging down creates a sequence of 6000, 6050, 6100, 6150, 6200, and so on.
Autofilling with text or a formula
If you drag the autofill handle on the active cell border, if the contents of your active cell is not a number, whatever resides in the active cell will be copied into all the cells that you autofill. For example, if you type “A” into the active cell and then drag the autofill handle, then “A” will be pasted into all the cells that you drag over. This feature is really handy for pasting formulas, for example, if you have a formula creating a sum of one column and then drag the formula with the autofill handle across all the columns, Calc will insert the sum for each individual column.