Fix Excel Fill Series Not Working [Quick & Easy Methods]

Written By Steven Arends

Why manually fill a cell with values when Excel can do the work for you?

The Fill series instantly covers the selected cells with values based on various factors and improves efficiency. However, sometimes people face problems with the fill series, and it fails to work correctly.fix-excel-fill-series-not-working

But don’t worry because here, I will provide the reasons and tested solutions for the fill series not working problem.

So, let’s begin.

How to Fix Excel Series Not Functioning in Excel

Users must enable the fill handle tool to make the fill series function in Microsoft Excel. Additionally, you must choose automatic calculation, reapply the fill series in filtered data, select sufficient information, and unprotect the sheet to make the fill series function.

The following passage describes how to resolve the issue with the fill series within a minute.

Here are the methods to fix fill series not functioning in Microsoft Excel:

1. Enable Fill Handle

When you hover the mouse pointer on a cell, it changes to a fill handle tool icon. But, if the mouse pointer doesn’t change, the fill handle option is disabled from the settings.

Consider following the instruction below to enable the fill handle option in Microsoft Excel.

Here’s how you can enable the fill handle tool in Excel:

  • Open Microsoft Excel and click on File.
  • Navigate to Options.
  • Click on Advanced.
  • Check the box beside Enable fill handle and cell-drag-and-drop.
  • Press on OK. enable-fill-handle

Hover over the cells and see if the mouse pointer changes to the fill handle tool icon. Drag to check the AutoFill is working properly.

2. Select Automatic Calculation

There are two types of calculation options in Excel—automatic and manual.

Mainly, people use the fill series to calculate automatically. But, if you set the calculation mode to manual, the AutoFill will only copy the dragged cell and won’t provide the expected result.

In this instance, you need to change the calculation mode to automatic by following the steps below.

Read the process below to select the automatic calculation options in MS Excel:

  • Go to the Formula tab from the ribbon.
  • Press on Calculation Options.
  • Choose Automatic. excel-automatic-calculation-mode
  • Click on the cell and drag the fill handle tool.

After switching to automatic, the fill series will automatically provide desired results to every cell. It’s beneficial when you add a total row in Excel and need to calculate quickly.

3. Fix Filtered Data Table

The filtered data hides the unselected data from the sheet and doesn’t count the hidden information in the fill series.

But, when you remove the filtered data and unhide the rows or columns, a blank cell appears in the fill series and makes it incomplete. excel-filtered-data

To complete the series, you need to apply the fill series again in your desired rows/columns.

Here is the procedure to reapply the fill series in the filtered data table in Excel:

  • Select the cell which contains the formula.
  • Drag the fill handle tool.excel-reapply-fill-handle

It will fill the space in the series with the correct calculation, and the previous calculation will remain unchanged.

4. Select Enough Values

Fill series is an intelligent tool that can determine a pattern and fill out the series. However, it fails to detect the structure and can’t execute the correct series if you don’t provide sufficient values.

Read the instructions below carefully to learn how to provide enough information to the AutoFill option.

Follow the steps below to provide sufficient values to the Excel fill series:

  • Type your expected values next to the last number.
  • Select the two values.
  • Drag the fill handle tool.excel-give-sufficient-values

The AutoFill option will detect the pattern using the first two values and execute it to calculate the following numbers.

The pattern only works with a series of values. If you want to fill the series with words or names, you can use flash fill to combine names in MS Excel.

5. Unprotect Excel Sheet

Protected sheets restrict the unauthorized user from modifying or changing the values in a Microsoft Excel sheet. It will hinder you from moving rows and columns in Excel and using fill series in the datasheet.

If you’ve added a password in the Excel sheet, you’ll see the fill series as grayed out. Follow the procedures below to unprotect the sheet and use the fill handle tool.

Here is the way to unprotect the Excel sheet:

  • Navigate to the Review tab.
  • Press on the Unprotect Sheet.
  • Enter your password and click on OK. excel-unprotect-sheet
  • Select the cell and drag the fill handle tool.

The fill series will execute correctly in the unprotected sheet and complete with accurate data.

If you are wondering about the reason which causes the fill series not to function, consider reading the following passage.

Why is the Fill Series Not Working in Microsoft Excel?

The fill series isn’t working in Microsoft Excel because the fill handle tool is disabled from the options. Also, the fill series won’t function if you use manual calculation mode, filter the data table, provide insufficient information, and use password protection.

Read the passage below to learn about the causes in detail.

Here are the reasons behind the fill series not working in Excel:

Disabled Fill Handle Tool

The fill handle tool stays enabled by default in Excel. However, if you’ve disabled the option before, the fill series won’t work in the Excel cell.

Using Manual Calculation

Microsoft Excel uses two calculation methods for a formula, automatic and manual. The automatic calculation mode computes the data and provides the result instantly.

But, the manual mode gives results only when you request the answer by pressing F9. If you are using the manual calculation mode, the fill series won’t work automatically.

Filtered Data Table Issue

The filtered Excel sheet shows the data you’ve selected to show and hides the other information. Applying the fill series in filtered data doesn’t count the hidden values in the fill handle tool.

As a result, when you unhide the information or clear the sort & filter option, the fill series doesn’t work correctly and shows a blank space in the list.

Insufficient Information

Fill series is an advanced feature of Excel that can detect different calculation patterns and provide results.

But, if you don’t give enough values or information in the fill series, it will only copy the selected cell and won’t function properly.

Protected Excel Sheet

A protected spreadsheet hinders the user from making changes or executing fill series in a row or column. If your sheet is password protected, the fill series will show a warning and won’t function.

The above reason will help to identify the reason behind your issue and quicken the resolution process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enable fill series in Excel?

To enable the fill series in Microsoft Excel, go to File > Options > Advanced > Editing options > check the Enable fill handle and cell-drag-and-drop option.

Why is the fill series grayed out in Excel?

The fill series is grayed out in Excel because the sheet protection is enabled. You need to disable it to make modify.

How to use fill series in Microsoft Excel?

To use the fill series in the Excel sheet, select the cell and drag the fill handle tool. It will automatically fill the cells with result.


The Excel fill series or AutoFill option is vital for completing the cells automatically. But, it can be problematic if it doesn’t work during a crucial moment.

In this article, I’ve provided quick and straightforward methods to fix the fill series option.

If you find this article helpful, don’t forget to share it in the comment box below.


About The Author
Steven Arends is a computer science graduate and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a vast collection of computer hardware and loves exploring the latest advancements. As a contributing author to 10Scopes, Steven shares his expertise to make the world of technology more accessible and easier to understand for all readers.

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