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Excel 2003: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Quick Ways to Add Data

Some of Excel's time-saving frills can make your life easier when you're entering data in a worksheet. This section covers four such features: AutoComplete, AutoCorrect, AutoFill, and AutoFit, along with Excel's top candidates for the Lifetime Most Useful Achievement award: Undo and Redo.

Tip

Excel really has two types of automatic features. First off, there are features that do things to your spreadsheets automatically, namely AutoComplete and AutoCorrect. Sometimes that's cool and convenient, but other times it can send you running for the old manual typewriter. Fortunately, you can turn off both. Excel also has "auto" features that really aren't that automatic. These include AutoFill and AutoFit, which never run on their own.

AutoComplete

Some worksheets require that you type in the same information row after row. For example, if you're creating a table to track the value of all the Sesame Street collectibles you own, you only can type in Kermit so many times before you start turning green. Excel tries to help you out with its AutoComplete feature, which examines what you type, compares it against previous entries in the same column, and, if it recognizes the beginning of an existing word, fills it in.

For instance, in your Sesame Street worksheet, if you already have Kermit in the Characters column, when you start typing a new entry in that column beginning with the letter K, Excel automatically fills in the whole word Kermit. Excel then selects the letters ...

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