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Recent Text in Excel

So, you’ve found yourself once again entering a bunch of text into an Excel worksheet… and once again, the text is getting repetitive.

Let’s say that you’ve got a list of employees and need to enter the department they work in for each one. This means that you’re in column B typing the same things over and over again – after all, there are a finite number of departments and multiple people work in each one.

Now, I know that when you begin to type text into Excel it tries to match it up with text already in the column, allowing you to hit the Enter key and let Excel finish the typing – assuming it was the text you needed.

A very helpful feature… most of the time. But when your text is similar and starts with the same string of letters you’re forced to type quite a lot each time before Excel can figure out which one you need.

Is there a way around all the duplicated efforts?

Why, yes there is… why else would I ask?

Next time, with an empty cell selected, try Alt + the down arrow.


You’ll find that a drop down list of the text already entered into the column will appear.

At this point it’s just a matter of letting go of the Alt key and using the arrow key to move through the list.

Once you’ve highlighted the entry you need hit the Enter key.

Voila! Repetitive text entered, no actual typing required.

~ April