Drag and Drop In Excel

What Is Drag And Drop In Excel?

Drag and drop is a convenient feature in Excel that allows users to easily manipulate data by selecting cells or objects and moving them to a new location using the mouse. This functionality simplifies copying, moving, and inserting spreadsheet data. Drag and drop in Excel efficiently rearranges data and improves productivity when working professionally with large datasets or complex worksheets.

In the following example, we initially entered two consecutive serial numbers, 1 and 3. Consequently, Excel recognizes that the numbers increase from one cell to another, albeit with a varying increment value.

For example, we have 1 and 3 in the first two cells. Now, we will Drag and Drop until the 10th row to observe the outcome.

Drag and Drop in Excel Intro

Surprisingly, we did not obtain consecutive serial numbers. Instead, we obtained a sequence of all odd numbers ranging from 1 to 17. This discrepancy arises because our initial values in the first two cells were 1 and 3. However, the increment between the first and second cells is 2. Consequently, when we employ the Drag and Drop function, Excel recognizes the pattern. And, increments the value by two each time it moves to a new cell.

Drag and Drop in Excel Intro - Output
Key Takeaways
  • Drag and Drop feature in Excel allows us to easily populate continuous cells with a series, pattern, or dates in a single row or column at a time. This efficient tool streamlines data entry and organization.
  • By utilizing Drag and Drop, we can effortlessly copy the formula output cells to the remaining output cells, eliminating the need for repetitive copy-pasting of formulas. This saves valuable time and minimizes the risk of errors in our calculations.
  • When employing the excel fill handle, we are presented with various options tailored to the cell values. This customizable functionality enhances our ability to manipulate and format data according to our needs.
  • The Drag and Drop feature in Excel empower us to work more efficiently, reducing manual effort and enhancing accuracy in data management tasks.

Uses Of Drag And Drop Option In Excel

  • One excellent use of this feature is in data manipulation and organization.
  • Users can select a range of cells and drag them to a new location, instantly reordering the data without complex formulas or manual edits.
  • This is particularly useful when dealing with large datasets or performing data analysis tasks such as sorting or filtering.
  • Additionally, the drag-and-drop option can also be leveraged for visually creating charts and graphs.
  • By selecting a range of data points and dragging them onto an empty chart template, users can quickly see their information without going through complicated steps in the Excel ribbon menu.

How To Use Drag And Drop In Excel

Let us learn how to use drag and drop in Excel with the following examples.

Example #1 – Copy The Current Cell Value To Other Cells

For instance, assume we have a specific value in cell A1.

Step 1: We can use the Drag and Drop feature. This allows us to fill the same value in adjacent cells easily. Position the cursor at the bottom right corner of the cell.

Drag and Drop in Excel - Example 1 - Step 1

Step 2: Using the plus icon, we can drag it to the right to fill all the dragged cells with the same value.

Drag and Drop in Excel - Example 1 - Step 2

Step 3: Once the Drag and Drop action is completed, a small icon will appear at the bottom right corner of the selected cells. Clicking on this icon will reveal a range of available options.

Step 4: Within this menu, we are presented with three choices: Copy Cells, Fill Formatting Only, and Fill Without Formatting. In our case, we have dragged and dropped from the active cell (A1) to the range A1 to D5, effectively transferring all the content from the active cell.

Drag and Drop in Excel - Example 1 - Step 4

Step 5: However, with the Fill Formatting Only option, we can solely apply the formatting from the active cell without copying its value. Conversely, the Fill Without Formatting option allows us to solely transfer the value from the active cell without any accompanying formatting.

Step 6: Look at how the spreadsheet appears when we select the Fill Formatting Only option.

Drag and Drop in Excel - Example 1 - Step 6

Step 7: Now, observe the changes when we choose the Fill Without Formatting option.

Drag and Drop in Excel - Example 1 - Step 7

By adopting these Drag and Drop techniques and utilizing the available options, we can efficiently populate cells with the desired values. And then, formatting or selectively apply only the formatting or value as needed.

Example #2 – Fill Serial Numbers

Using the Drag and Drop feature, we can effortlessly insert serial numbers into our spreadsheet.

Step 1: To begin, it is essential to input a minimum of two consecutive numbers.

Step 2: We assume we have entered two consecutive serial numbers in cells A1 and A2. To proceed, we need to select these two cells and position the cursor at the bottom of the cell, where the Drag and Drop symbol will appear.

Drag and Drop in Excel - Example 2 - Step 2

Step 3: Now, using this function, we can use Drag and Drop until the desired row number corresponds to the serial number we seek. In the present scenario, we have dragged until row 10, resulting in our serial numbers ranging from 1 to 10.

Drag and Drop in Excel - Example 2 - Step 3

Example #3 – Insert Serial Numbers Without Pattern

In addition, we can insert serial numbers without the need to enter consecutive numbers.

Step 1: Instead, input the number 1 into any cells.

Drag and Drop in Excel - Example 3 - Step 1

Step 2: Next, proceed to Drag and Drop till the 10th row.

Example 3 - Step 2

Step 3: Click on the AutoFill options box.

Step 4: Selecting the Fill Series option is imperative to obtain serial numbers incremented by 1.

Drag and Drop in Excel - Example 3 - Step 4

Step 5: As a result, we can increase serial numbers by 1.

Drag and Drop in Excel - Example 3 - Step 5

Example #4 – Fill To All Below Cell Once

We can utilize Drag and Drop feature to fill the formula across multiple cells. Let’s take a moment to examine the image below for reference.

Example 4 - Step 1

To calculate the Profit, we need to input the formula as cost minus sales price.

Example 4 - Step 2

Typically, we would copy the formula from one cell and paste it into the cells below. However, we can position the cursor at the bottom right corner of the formula cell, specifically the C2 cell.

Next, we can double-click the formula to the cells below. This eliminates the need for manual copying and pasting, streamlining our workflow.

Example 4 - Step 3

Important Things To Note

  • To perform a drag-and-drop operation, users start by selecting the cell or object they wish to move and then position the mouse cursor over the border of the selection until it changes into a four-headed arrow.
  • Holding down the left mouse button allows them to drag the selection to a new location within the workbook.
  • This feature can be enhanced by adding excel keyboard shortcuts or options such as copying values instead of formulas.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Are there any limitations or restrictions on what can be dragged and dropped in Excel?

We may have limitations when dealing with large amounts of data or complex calculations. It is recommended to use this functionality cautiously when working with extensive spreadsheets as it may impact performance.
• Furthermore, some elements within a worksheet might have protection or locked cells applied to them, preventing them from being affected by drag-and-drop actions unless those restrictions are lifted beforehand.

In the following example, we initially entered two consecutive serial numbers, 10 and 100.


However, when we observed the outcome after using the Drag and Drop function until the 10th row, we were surprised that we did not obtain consecutive serial numbers. Instead, we obtained a difference of 90 from 10 to 730. This happens because our initial values in the first two cells were 10 and 100, resulting in 90 increments between the cells. As a result, when we employed the Drag and Drop function, Excel recognized this pattern.

FAQ 1 - Output

2. What common mistakes or issues can occur when using drag and drop in Excel?

• One common mistake is accidentally dragging formulas instead of values. As a result, incorrect calculations and subsequent errors throughout the spreadsheet occurs.
• Additionally, users often overlook the potential mismatch between destination cells and source formats, leading to formatting inconsistencies and data misinterpretation.
• Furthermore, accidental release of the left mouse button while dragging can lead to unintentional cell movement or deletion. A lack of awareness about the behavior of hidden rows or columns during drag-and-drop actions can also cause inadvertent modifications to hidden data.

3. Can I use drag and drop to rearrange the order of sheets within an Excel workbook?

Users can conveniently rearrange the sheets’ order within an Excel workbook by using the drag-and-drop feature. This functionality enables professionals to efficiently organize their data by rearranging the sheet tabs according to their specific requirements. To initiate the process, one must click on a sheet tab and then drag it left or right along the tab row to reposition it. When doing so, Excel dynamically displays a vertical bar that helps visualize where the sheet will be placed once released.

Download Template

This article must help understand Excel Drag and Drop formulas and examples. We can download the template here to use it instantly.

This has been a guide to Drag And Drop In Excel. Here we learn the excellent use of drag and drop with different formatting option, examples and downloadable template. You can learn more from the following articles –

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