4.3 Manipulation of Cells

In this module, you’ll learn about a few techniques for working with data in your spreadsheets and by the end you should be able to:

  • Enter and edit data.
  • Copy and move data.
  • Use the fill series function to complete a series of commonly used data.
  • Create a custom fill series.
  • Insert rows and columns.

Entering Data

When entering data into a worksheet, type the data into the active cell. Press either the Enter key or the Tab key to move on to the next cell. Excel will recognize commonly used words and will give you the option to automatically fill in your cell.  For example, if you typed the word “Pittsburgh” in one cell, and in another cell you started typing “Pit,” it will give you the option to choose “Pittsburgh” from a list that appears below the cell that you are typing.

Editing Data

To edit data that already exists in the worksheet, you can select the cell and re-type the information or go to the Formula Bar and make any editing changes there.

Copying & Moving Data

The copy, cut and paste commands are available in Excel, just as they are in other Microsoft applications. You can access these features either through the Edit menu or the Standard Toolbar.


The drag-and-drop feature is another way to move data from its original location to another location in the worksheet.  To use the drag and drop method:

  • Select the cells you wish to move.
  • Point to an outside border of the cell.
  • Click and drag the cell(s) to the new location.

Inserting Rows & Columns

As you are creating a spreadsheet, you might find that you need to insert a row or column to add data. Follow the steps below to insert a single row or column:

  • Click on the row/column where you want to insert the row/column.
  • Right click and select Insert from the menu.

Fill Series Function 

Excel provides tools for filling in commonly used series of data by incrementing the values rather than copying them. If a cell contains a number, date or time period that the application recognizes, you can use the fill series function to extend the series across a range. Below is an example of using the Fill Series function in an active cell.



Custom Fill Series

You can create a custom fill series for frequently used text entries if you have a list of categories that you need to fill in for different areas of the spreadsheet. You can set that list up as a custom series. When you need to enter the series, you simply type the first value and use the fill handle to complete the list.


For example, if you are doing a project for your history class and you need to work with data from all Eastern European countries, you could use the Custom Fill feature to easily enter the names of the countries.


To create a custom fill series:

  • Click the Excel tab on the menu bar and choose Preferences.
  • Under Formulas and Lists, choose Custom Lists. Make sure New List is highlighted.
  • In the box on the right hand side, enter the data you want to appear in your custom list, typing each piece of data on a new line.
  • Click Add and then OK