Related Pages:

There are several ways to input data into an Excel spreadsheet. Spending a few minutes learning the different methods of data input, could save hours in the future, allowing you to become more efficient in your work.

The most basic way to input data into Excel is to simply select a cell and type directly into it. However, if you want to go back and alter the contents of that cell, without deleting the existing cell contents, you need to put the cell into edit mode. To do this, you can either:

  • Double click on the cell, or
  • Select the cell you want to edit and then either:
    • Click in the formula bar, or
    • Press F2

When a cell is in edit mode, a cursor appears (either in the cell or in the formula bar), and when you type or paste data into the cell, it appears alongside the existing cell contents. Also, when a cell is in edit mode, you can move your cursor through the cell contents, using either the mouse, or the left, right, up and down keys on your keyboard.

Entering a Single Value Into a Range of Cells

If you want to enter the same value into several cells, you can quickly do this by:

  • Highlighting all the cells you want to populate
  • Typing the value or text (this will be displayed only in the active cell at this time)
  • Pressing CTRL + Enter (i.e. press the Ctrl key, and while this is depressed, press Enter).

This copies the text you have typed into all of the cells in the selected range.

Inputting a Series of Values

Note that you could also use the Excel Autofill to enter a constant value into several cells. However, the Excel Autofill is much more powerful than this, allowing you to automatically enter a series of values into your worksheet. See the Autofill page for details.

Importing Data Into Excel

If you have data in a different file format, you can import this into Excel. For example, to import data from a text file:

  • In Current Versions of Excel (2007 and later): Select the Data tab and from within this menu, select the From Text option


  • In Excel 2003: Select the Data tab, and from within this menu, select Import External Data and then Import Data

Use the browser to locate the text file with your data in it. Excel then takes you through a series of steps in which you can specifiy how the data in the text file is to be split into separate columns, how the data is formatted in the columns, and whereabouts in your spreadsheet you want to paste the imported data.

Copy and Paste

Often, you simply need to copy the contents of an existing cell or range of cells into other parts of your worksheet. There are numerous ways to do this, which are explained in detail in the Copy & Paste page.