Fill in Blanks in a Microsoft Excel List with Cell Values
by Avantix Learning Team | Updated July 8, 2017
Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 (Windows)
It’s a fairly common issue to have a list of Excel data where there are blanks or missing values in a column. The data may have been imported from an external source or formatted this way by a client or colleague for readability.
As a result, many data tools such as sorting, filtering and pivot tables can’t be used efficiently until the blank cells have been filled with data.
Recommended article: 10 Excel Data Entry Tricks and Shortcuts Every User Should Know
Below is a sample with missing values in the first column:
It’s tedious to manually enter the missing values but you can fill in the data quickly using Go To Special and Paste Special.
Below is the Go To Special dialog box:
Below is the Paste Special dialog box:
To easily fill in the blanks with the value from the most recent cell above containing a value:
- Select the range of cells with blank cells or missing values (this range is often in one column).
- Press Control + G to display the Go To dialog box and then click on Special to display the Go To Special dialog box. Alternatively, you can click on the Home tab in the Ribbon and then select Go to Special from the Find & Select drop-down menu.
- Select Blanks in the Go To Special dialog box and click on OK. Excel will select all of the blank cells within the range.
- In the active cell (which should be the first blank cell below the first cell with data), type = followed by the cell address of the first cell above that contains data (for example, type =A3).
- Press Control + Enter. This will enter the formula in all of the selected cells and reference the cell above.
- Select the entire column (for example, column A) and press Control + C to copy.
- With the same column selected, press Control + Alt + V to display the Paste Special dialog box. Alternatively, click on the Home tab in the Ribbon and select Paste Special from the Paste drop-down menu.
- In the Paste Special dialog box, select Values and click on OK. The values will be pasted in the cells that were previously blank.
Below is the sample file after we’ve used this process to fill in the missing values:
You will now be able to sort, filter and create pivot tables with the list.
Did you find this article helpful? If you would like to receive new articles, join our email list.
Recommended Microsoft Excel training
Our instructor-led classroom training courses are delivered at our downtown Toronto location at 1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801 (Toronto Star Building), Toronto, Ontario, Canada (some courses may also be delivered at an alternate downtown Toronto location). Contact us if you’d like to arrange custom training at your office on a date that’s convenient for you.
To request this page in an alternate format, contact us.
Copyright 2018 Avantix Learning Inc.
You may also like
It’s easy to lock and unlock cells in Excel to prevent users from changing data or formulas. This involves a two-step process …
In Excel, there are all kinds of tips, tricks and shortcuts you can use when entering formulas. In this article, we’ll review some common as well as little known tips for entering formulas quickly and easily in Microsoft Excel.
Check out these 10 great Excel pivot table keyboard shortcuts. You can use standard shortcuts using the Control key or use Alt to access the Ribbon and create pivot tables in different ways.
Microsoft, the Microsoft logo, Microsoft Office and related Microsoft applications and logos are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in Canada, US and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of the registered owners.
Avantix Learning | 1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801 (Toronto Star Building), Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5E 1W7 | email@example.com