Excel Flash Fill is a new feature that was introduced in Excel 2013.

Flash Fill allows you to combine, extract, move & transform data that belongs in one column, into a new column.

One of the cool uses of Flash Fill is formatting numbers.  In our example below, we are going to add hyphens within our serial numbers!

Add Hyphens To Serial Numbers Using Excel Flash Fill | MyExcelOnline

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To demonstrate the power of Excel’s Flash Fill, we will start off with this table of data we need to apply our formatting on:

Add Hyphens To Serial Numbers Using Excel Flash Fill

 

STEP 1: Type 123-45-6789 as the first entry in the Formatted SSN column.  We also want the rest of the SSNs to be formatted this way.

Add Hyphens To Serial Numbers Using Excel Flash Fill

 

STEP 2: In the second entry, once you type the first number 4 of 478923744Excel will auto-suggest to Flash Fill the rest of the Formatted SSN column.

See also  Quick Access Toolbar

Excel is smart enough to infer that you are trying to apply this formatting.

If the Flash Fill looks good, press Enter. 

Add Hyphens To Serial Numbers Using Excel Flash Fill

 

*** IMPORTANT: If Flash Fill doesnt’ start automatically in your selected cell when you type in data that matches a pattern, you will need to start Flash Fill manually.

This is done by clicking on Data > Flash Fill or by pressing the Flash Fill keyboard shortcut CTRL+E

Extract Numbers Using Flash Fill In Excel

 

STEP 3: What is very impressive is Excel was able to apply the same formatting to the rest of the table without the use of a single formula!

Add Hyphens To Serial Numbers Using Excel Flash Fill

 

 

Add Hyphens To Serial Numbers Using Excel Flash Fill

 

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