Unleash the pattern power with Excel Fill [quick tip]

milli-thumbWhen you are a “work from home” dad, you can see a lot of patterns. Here is one.

My kids come home from school by noon (they are too young for full day school). Right after lunch they watch their favorite cartoon program, Team Umizoomi, in which few fictional characters go about solving problems in the Umi city using maths. Milli, one of the characters is an expert with patterns. She solves problems by identifying patterns and unleashing pattern power. 

Here is a fun example of the pattern power. (It has Chef Gordan Ramsey too, which is sweet)

Team Umizoomi & Excel Fill – How do they link up?

Here is how they link up.

Imagine you have a workbook where you need to follow a pattern, like one of these:

patterns-in-excel

You too can unleash the pattern power. What more… you needn’t break in to a song sequence every-time you unleash the power.

How to use Excel’s pattern fill?

pattern-fill-in-excel-demoHere is an example. Let’s say you want 2 different formulas & 1 blank cells in a sequence.

  1. Write the first formula in cell 1
  2. Second formula in cell 2
  3. Leave the 3rd cell blank
  4. Select all 3 cells
  5. Drag to fill

See the screencast aside to understand this concept.

Bonus tip: You can use this technique horizontally too.

Where to use this pattern power?

Here are few uses for pattern fills:

  • Dashboards & reports where you need to show some information but space it with blanks for readability
  • Apply different formatting to different rows / columns
  • Set conditional formatting only to every nth cell
  • Format (or write formulas for) weekdays & weekends differently

I use pattern power often when designing dashboards or complex reports.

What about you?

Do you use pattern power? Tell us in the comments where you would use them.

I must go now, I hear the umi alarm. Looks like the kids are back from school.

[source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/PointyHairedDilbert/~3/FQbZe2B7Doc/]