Can You Handle It?

Fill HandleThe Excel Fill Handle, along with the drag-and-drop editing, are helpful apparatus for seasoned financial professionals. By hovering the mouse over a cell or range of cells, a financial modeller can copy a cell or range of cells in a few time-saving ways. Additionally the fill handle can fill adjacent cells with a series of data, not to mention cell styles or cell formats.

By default, Excel’s settings have the fill handle enabled, but users have the discretion to disable this feature.


Excel Fill Handle

Strategize Financial Modelling – Fill Handle in FP&A.xls


Fill Data Series of Input Cells

Excel’s Fill Handle can realise a series of data inputs, by filling adjoining cells with a myriad of relevant data series. A follow-up blog will explore the rich functionality in greater depth, but the Fill Handle is able to fill a series of numbers, dates or other built-in series items.

Remember it takes only one cell, containing a relevant built-in series, in order to realise the power of the Fill Handle. For example, the above video demonstrates how the merely selection of cell containing January, and the use of the Fill Handle will produce subsequent months down the worksheet.


Copy Cell Styles or Cell Formats

The Fill Handle is an effective way to copy across personalised cell styles, which a best practice model will contain; especially in the creation of in the input assumption cells. However be mindful not to overwrite critical cell inputs, which could represent dependent cells in calculation or output worksheets.

Many financial modellers prefer to tailor certain key input cells, by creating custom cell formats, which improves the visibility of the unit input type. Thus the Excel Fill Handle is a fool-proof and prompt way to copy a custom cell format such as “0 ounce(s)”, across multiple revenue streams of adjacent gold production.


Copy Array Formulas of Outputs

Finally the Fill Handle is a time-saving technique in a best practice financial model, which contains uniform formulas that can be copied down and then across. As always, a strong attention to detail is paramount, so as to prevent erroneous or inaccurate cell referencing or formula miscalculations.

Once a financial model is created and structured in a best practice fashion, then the Fill Handle is a great technique to automatically copy formulas down and across a worksheet.