How To Fix Excel Fill Handle Not Working Issue?

Are you the one facing Excel Fill handle not working issue while using Autofill Excel feature?

Well, no one wants to deal with the problems raises due to Excel fill series not working issue. As we all know how useful this Excel file handle tool is to auto-fill the list in worksheet columns or rows just by dragging through the mouse.

But sometimes the situation may arise where fill series in Excel not working properly. So to tackle such a situation it’s important to know how to fix Excel fill won’t work issue.

That’s why I have outlined some best fixes to resolve Excel fill series not working issue in this blog post.

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User’s Query:

Let’s know about abut this Excel drag not working issue with one such user experience:

All I want to do is continue a series of numbers vertically. I’ve done this many times before but now the fill handle is simply repeating the same number in each cell. I have checked that the column is formatted for numbers, the fill handle is enabled and ‘show paste options’ is checked, but I’m not getting any options

Original Post from Excel Forums.

Well, this is really very irritating but not a problem that can’t be fixed. Today here in this article I am putting together some of the working solutions that help you to resolve the fill handle in Excel not working issue and bonus tips to use fill handle effectively.

How To Fix Excel Fill Handle Not Working Problem?

Well, there is no particular reason behind Excel Fill handles not working issue. So, here we have tried some of the possible working solutions.

Try this…

Method 1: Enable File Handle Option

If Excel fills series not working then the reason can be also that the fill handle option is not enabled. Although this feature is by default comes enabled but may be due to your mistake somehow it got disabled.

So here is how to enable Excel fill handle feature:

  • Go to the File menu and then hit the Options tab. This will open the Excel Options window on your screen.
  • Choose the Advanced option from the left pane of the Excel Options window.

enable fill handle in excel 1

  • Now go to the section of Editing Options and put a checkmark across “Enable fill handle and cell drag-and-drop” option.
  • Hit the OK button.

enable fill handle in excel 2

Method 2: Remove Filters

Well, if you have added filters then this makes the fill handle cause an issue. So, many users state that removing filters from the columns in your Excel workbook solves the issue.

After removing the filters the fill handle began working again.

Therefore it is worth checking if you had added column filters than removing and check whether the fill handle not working issue is solved or not.

However, if you are still facing the error then follow the second solution to solve the issue

Method 3: Choose Automatic Calculation

Checking the Automatic in Formulas tab resolves Excel Fill Handle not working properly issue for many users.

So here know how to do so:

  • Go to the ‘Formulas’ tab
  • And then go to the ‘Calculation Options’ from the drop-down menu
  • Make sure ‘Automatic’ is checked.

set manual calculation method 5

 Hope this works in your case but if not then here is another trick.

Method 4: Press F4 key

This solution is the easiest trick to solve Excel fill handle stopped working issue.

Select the cell value and press F4 key 3 times and doing this trick will solve Excel fill handle issue.

Actually the fact behind this is when you choose a cell and then press F4 key the last action that you have performed will get repeated. This last action can anything like deleting rows, filling up data in cells, formatting, inserting, or doing changes in the shapes.

Well, these are some of the working solutions to repair Excel fill handle issue. But if after following the given manual solutions you are still facing the issue then make use of the automatic MS Excel Repair Tool.

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Steps To Utilize MS Excel Repair Tool:


Best Tips To Work With Excel Fill Handle Effectively

Despite all this here follow tips that will help you to work efficiently with Excel Fill Handle. Right knowledge of how to use the fill handle is also equally important to avoid Excel drag not working while using the autofill feature.

1: Copy values

As I said above it is equally important to know how to use the fill handle to copy values early on.

To do so, select the value you want to copy and hold the fill handle by clicking on it. After that holding down the left mouse key, drag it in the appropriate direction.

In this way Excel copies values to the selected cells.  Now make use of the fill handle to instantly copy values.

To increase values, enter enough values to differentiate a pattern.

For example – You may enter 1 in A1 and A2 to fix a pattern, that increases by 1 – 1, 2, 3, and so on.

But if you type 1 & 3, then the fill handle will increase by 2 – 1, 3, 5, and so on.

Now, hold the Ctrl key during dragging the fill handle will also force an incremental series.

2: Take drop-down help

Well, the fill handles alone not always do what you want. So when this is the case, there are two options:

  • Right-click fill handle > drag to display the context menu.
  • Or left-click and drag to display the context menu.

However, not all options are valid for the source value.

So, determine the copy action after dragging.

If you select Series, Excel displays the dialog shown in the image below.

You can create any series you require with the help of this one dialog. Make use of the Series dialog to handle series that are difficult.

3: Double-click

In some cases, the target range is large enough that the fill handle becomes a bit discomfited.

Well, it is quite difficult to imagine dragging fill handle for thousands of rows. So in this case, double-click the fill handle instead of dragging it.

Here follow some simple rules:

  • When the fill handle is double-clicked, Excel uses the values in the left column to determine how far to copy and the Excel stops as a blank cell is found.
  • If no values are there to the left, then Excel will use the values in the column to the right.
  • If to the left or right there are no values, then this trick doesn’t work

4: Include text

If you type text with a number, then Excel’s fill handle will accommodate word, in a prospective manner.

For Example, Excel knows there are just four quarters. And if you copy Quarter 1 to five cells, this will repeat the series.

But if you don’t want a series but need to copy the actual text, then hold down Ctrl while dragging. The Ctrl key force Excel to do the opposite to its default behavior

The fill handle creates all these series.

5: Insert cells

Press the shift key during dragging the fill handle to insert cells.

For instance: select A3:F3, and right-click the selection, select Insert > choose an insert option, and click Ok.

One can also hold the Shift key and drag fill handles the number of rows you drag through verifies the number of rows Excel inserts.

By dragging, select the number of rows that you want to insert.


What’s This Fill Handle In Excel?

Fill handle in Excel is mainly used with an objective to saves time and to make more productive. Using this Excel tool one can autocomplete the lists in their Excel worksheet within a few seconds.

With the help of this user can extend a series of numbers, dates, or text to the desired number of cells.

Excel’s fill handle is a very flexible tool and can instantly fill thousands of rows all you need to know when to drag, when to click and when to hold down the alternate key to fulfill its potential.

Suppose, you want to assign numbers from 1 to 20 in your worksheet cells A1:A20. So instead of manually entering each number, just enter 1st two numbers and then make use of Excel fill handle feature to perform the rest of your task.

Why Is My Fill Handle Not Working In Excel?

Following reasons are responsible for fill series not working in Excel issue

  • The very first reason behind fill handle not working in Excel can be disabled Fill Handle option.
  • Excessive application of filters in Excel worksheet.
  • Excel file got corrupted somehow.
How Do You AutoFill In Excel Without Dragging?

To quickly autofill in excel without dragging you need to perform the following steps:

  • Enter the number 1 in your worksheet cell A1.
  • Follow this path: Home –> Editing –> Fill –> Series.


  • Now in the opened dialog box of series you need to make following selections:

Type: Linear

Stop Value: 1000

Series in: Columns

Step Value: 1


  • Hit the OK button.

Now you will see that the cell from A1 to A1000 is filled with number 1 to 1000.


Hope this blog will help you to fix Excel fill handle not working properly issue.

Make use of the given solutions to resolve the issue. But if the solution won’t help you then make use of the Automatic solution, this is best and efficient to fix any Excel issues as well as errors.

Also, I tried my best to put together some effective tips that will help to work flawlessly with fill handle in Excel.

If, in case you have any additional questions concerning the ones presented, do tell us in the comments section below or you can also ask it on our Facebook and Twitter page.

Good Luck….

Priyanka is an entrepreneur & content marketing expert. She writes tech blogs and has expertise in MS Office, Excel, and other tech subjects. Her distinctive art of presenting tech information in the easy-to-understand language is very impressive. When not writing, she loves unplanned travels.