How to fill a series of dates in Numbers.app


How to fill a series of dates in Numbers.app
Quick Mac Tip, 11 March 2012

It’s not immediately obvious how to fill down a series of dates, perhaps a week apart, in Numbers.app on the Mac, but it’s extremely easy. Here’s how.

A reader, Patrick, spotted last week’s Excel Tip, How to fill a series in Excel so it’s not a drag, and complained of having difficulty filling a series of dates in Numbers on the Mac. I mentioned just dragging down. But then Patrick explained that he wanted the dates to be a week apart. Dragging down on a single date increments it by 1 day, not 7.

There’s a tiny bit of work to set up filling down a series of dates, but it still involves just dragging down. Here’s what you do.

  1. Open a Numbers spreadsheet.
  2. In cell A1 (or whichever cell you need) enter a date, eg 01 February 2012 and press Return or Tab to confirm it. The cell may change its display format.
  3. In cell A2 enter the next date you need, eg 08 February 2012.
  4. Select both dates then grab the handle in the bottom right corner and drag down. A series of dates is filled.
Fill a series of dates in Numbers.app.

Fill a series of dates in Numbers.app. I entered the beginning of a series of dates into cells B2 and B3, then selected both and dragged down using the drag handle in the bottom-right corner.

The Cell Inspector

Use the Cell Inspector to change the date format for the selected cell or cells.

Format dates with the Cell Inspector.

Format dates with the Cell Inspector.

If you format the starting cell before you fill down then all the cells will have the same formatting. To format cells:

  1. Select one or more cells.
  2. Choose Show Inspector from the View menu. The Inspector window appears.
  3. Select the Cell Inspector tab. It’s the tab whose icon shows the number 42 inside a rectangle.
  4. Select Date and Time from the Cell Format dropdown menu.
  5. Select the format that suits you. The format is applied to the selected cells.
  6. Close or move the Inspector window when you’re finished.

Experiment

While writing this Tip I played with filling series of dates. I tried 29 February 2012 followed by 28 February 2013. I also tried dates going back in time.

Experiment for yourself and have some fun.

Do you use Numbers on the Mac for your spreadsheets? Let us know in the Comments how this Tip helped you.

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4 Comments

  1. Cindy said:

    Thanks! This was so easy! Your info was a great help. Using it for a homeschool form.

  2. Susan in PDX said:

    Awesome! Thank you so much – what a simple solution. Other google results wanted me to hand code a bunch of stuff – highlighting two in a series and dragging down makes So Much Sense and is very easy. Yay!

  3. Helen Hancox said:

    Thanks – I have managed to do the dates a week apart in excel – using the method described in last weeks tip.
    Helen

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