Easily Fill Blank Cells with Values from a Cell Above

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated April 5, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can fill blank cells in Excel with a value from a cell above using a few great Excel tricks. The data may have been imported from an external source or formatted this way by a client or colleague for readability but the blank cells are a problem if you want to sort, filter or summarize the data.

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

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Below is a sample with blanks or missing values in the first column:

Excel worksheet with blanks to fill blank cells with values in the cell above.

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:

Select blanks in Excel using Go to Special.

Below is the Paste Special dialog box:

Paste Special dialog box in Excel to paste or fill in blanks.

To quickly fill blanks with the value from a cell above:

  1. Select the range of cells with blank cells (this range is typically in one column).
  2. Press Ctrl + G to display the Go To dialog box and then click Special to display the Go To Special dialog box. Alternatively, you can click the Home tab in the Ribbon and then select Go to Special from the Find & Select drop-down menu.
  3. Select Blanks in the Go To Special dialog box and click OK. Excel will select the blank cells in the range.
  4. Type = followed by the cell address of the first cell above that contains data  (for example, type =A3). This will be entered in the active cell (which should be the first blank cell below the first cell with data). You can also enter the formula in the Formula Bar.
  5. Press Ctrl + Enter. This will enter the formula in the blank cells and reference the cell above.
  6. Select the column of data in the range that has been filled (for example, column A) and press Ctrl + C to copy.
  7. With the same range selected, press Ctrl + Alt + V to display the Paste Special dialog box. Alternatively, click the Home tab in the Ribbon and select Paste Special from the Paste drop-down menu.
  8. In the Paste Special dialog box, select Values and click 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 blank cells in column A:

Excel worksheet will blanks filled in with missing values.

You will now be able to sort, filter and create pivot tables with the list.

This article was first published on July 8, 2017 and has been updated for clarity and content.

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More resources

How to Fill Blank Cells with Excel (with Zeros, Values, or Dashes)

How to Convert Text to Numbers in Excel

How to Quickly Delete Blank Rows in Excel

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How to Fill Blank Cells in Excel with a Value from a Cell Above
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How to Fill Blank Cells in Excel with a Value from a Cell Above
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You can fill blank cells in Excel with a value from a cell above using a few great Excel tricks. The data may have been imported from an external source or formatted this way by a client or colleague for readability but the blank cells are a problem if you want to sort, filter or summarize the data.
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