Excel Tip: Automating the Presentation of a List

Are there lists that you need to enter over and over again in your Excel worksheets? For example, do you frequently prepare worksheets containing a list of the chart of accounts, your employees' names, your inventory parts, and so on?

You might uncover an older worksheet file that contains the list, copy the original list and paste the list into your new file. Or perhaps you retype the list each time you need it to appear in your worksheet.

Here's a quick and effective method for saving and recalling lists. Let's speculate that you have a file that contains a list of your chart of accounts, and you would like to reproduce that list in files in the future. Follow these steps and you can display an account list quickly and easily, whenever you need it.

1. Open a file containing the original list. If you don't have a file containing the list, create the list in a new Excel file.

2. Copy the List by highlighting the cells containing the list items, then clicking the Copy button (or choosing Edit, Copy from the menu bar).

3. Choose Tools, Options, and click the Custom Lists tab. The range of cells you selected in step 2 should appear in the "Import list from cells" area. If this area is blank or contains incorrect information, enter the correct cell range, or delete the information that appears in this space and return to Step 2.

4. Click the Import button, then click the Ok button.

From now on, whenever you wish to display members of this list, enter the first entry you wish to make, then drag the AutoFill button down or across through the cells that need to contain the list information. The AutoFill button is the tiny box in the bottom right corner of the active cell.

If you want to present the list, beginning with an entry other than the first entry (for example, perhaps you want to list your chart of accounts, beginning with the income accounts), enter the first item of the portion of the list you wish to display. Choose Tools, Options, and
Drag the AutoFill button until all information you want to see has been properly displayed.

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