Using AUTOFILL to automatically fill a row or column

Use the `AUTOFILL` function to apply the same formula to each row in a neighboring table—even when the table changes dynamically.

If you're using a formula next to a table of data, you want an easy way to have the same formula to all rows.

For example, in this illustration, we want to concatenate the first and last names, so we use the handle to drag down the cell C2 and have same forumula apply to rows 3 and 4 as well.

Cell Actions button

This is very simple case though. What if you have a table that dynamically updates, like a Data Table? You can't predict how far down you need to drag the formula cell.

You might have run into the same problem in other spreadsheet applications, when trying to apply formulas to the contents of an ever-changing pivot table.

Fortunately, Rows has an AUTOFILL function which solves this problem.

How the AUTOFILL function works

If you have a formula that applies to a column in a dynamic Data Table, you can wrap it in an AUTOFILL function so that it adapts to the number of rows in the table.

The following screenshot shows the AUTOFILL function in action.

AUTOFILL example

What exactly is happening in this example?

  1. We've put a list of companies in a Data Table (red section) so that we can easily review the company names and domains.

  2. In the cell C2, we then used the JOB_OPENINGS_PREDICTLEADS function to see how many open position each company has .
    • This function uses the company's domain as a query parameter — we get the domain from column B so the first cell we reference is "" in B3.
    • We also use the PARSE function to just get the metadata about the total number of open positions.

  3. Finally, still in cell C2, we then wrap the whole thing in an AUTOFILL function, so that the formula is automatically copied all the way down to the bottom of the table (yellow section).

Currently, the table has 10 entries so the AUTOFILL function has created 10 instances of the JOB_OPENINGS_PREDICTLEADS formula. However, the results of the company search could always change (especially if you allow users to enter their own search critieria in Live View).

In this case, the AUTOFILL function will always adapt to the length of the table and add or remove instances of whatever formula it encloses.

Try it Yourself

If you'd like to experiment with the example in this screenshot, open the live version on the Community Page and click Duplicate to add a copy to your workspace.

Using the AUTOFILL function

The easiest way to get started with the AUTOFILL function is through the function wizard.

To use the AUTOFILL function with the function wizard, follow these steps

  1. Select a cell adjacent to a column or table that contains several rows of data.
    • Underneath this cell should be enough free space to insert copies of the formula.
  2. Click the Function Wizard Function wizard button in the main toolbar.
  3. In the search box, search for AUTOFILL and click the result.
  4. In the options panel, configure the options for the AUTOFILL function.

    OptionUse To
    LabelThe header that you want to use for the column
    • Since this function is designed to add an extra column to a table, it's useful to define a table header as the first row.
    Set formulaEnter the formula that you want to be filled down to the bottom of the table.
    • For example, FIND_EMAIL(A2, B2, C2)
    • Note that you can't reference a range such as SUM(A2:B2) — you can only reference individual cells (for example, SUM(A2,B2) would work).
    Set modeChoose how the cells should be automatically filled and enter the ID of the desired fill mode.
    • 0 The default option which only fills empty cells on the way down.

    • 1 Overwrite and recompute cells only when the formula has changed.

    • 2 Always overwrite and recompute all cells every time the table is changed.

  5. Click Save Changes in Cell... to apply the AUTOFILL formula.