Numbering in Excel

Numbering in excel means providing a cell with numbers which are like serial numbers to some table, obviously it can also be done manually by filling first two cells with numbers and drag down to the end to table which excels will automatically fill the series or we can use the =ROW() formula to insert a row number as the serial number in the data or table.

Numbering in Excel

At the time of working with Excel, there are some small tasks that need to be done repeatedly, and if we know the right way to do it, they can save a lot of time. Generating the numbers in excel is such a task that is often used while working. Serial numbers play a very important role in excel. This defines a unique identity for each record of your data.

One of the ways is to add the serial numbers manually in excel. But it can be a pain if you have the data of hundreds or thousands of rows, and you must enter the row number for them.

This article will cover the different ways to do it.

How to Automatically Add Serial Number in Excel?

There are many ways to generate the number of rows in Excel.

You can download this Numbering in Excel Template here – Numbering in Excel Template
  1. Using Fill Handle
  2. Using Fill Series
  3. Using ROW Function

#1 – Using Fill Handle

This identifies a pattern from a few already filled cells and then quickly used that pattern to fill the entire column.

Let’s take the below dataset.

Number in Excel Example 1

For the above dataset, we have to fill the serial no record-wise. Follow the below steps:

  1. Enter 1 in Cell A3 and enter 2 in Cell A4.

  2. Select both the cells as per the below screenshot.


    Number in Excel Example 1-1

    As we can see, there is a small square shown in the above screenshot rounded by red color called Fill Handle in Excel.

    Place the mouse cursor on this square and double-click on the fill handle.

  3. It will automatically fill all the cells until the end of the dataset. Refer to the below screenshot.


    Number in Excel Example 1-2

    As fill handle identifies the pattern and accordingly fill the respective cells with that pattern.

    If you have any blank row in the dataset, then the fill handle would only work till the last contiguous non-blank row.

#2 – Using Fill Series

This gives more control over data on how the serial numbers are entered into excel.

Suppose you have below the score of students subject wise.

Number in Excel Example 2

Follow the below steps to fill series in the excel:

  • Enter 1 in Cell A3.
  • Go to the HOME tab. Click on the Fill option under the editing section, as shown in the below screenshot.
Number in Excel Example 2-1
  • Click on the Fill dropdown. It has many options. Click on Series, as shown in the below screenshot.
Number in Excel Example 2-2
  • It will open a dialog box, as shown below screenshot.
Number in Excel Example 2-3
  • Click on Columns under the Series In section. Refer to the below screenshot.
Number in Excel Example 2-4
  • Enter the value under the Stop Value field. In this case, we have a total of 10 records; enter 10. If you skip this value, the Fill Series option will not work.
  • Enter Ok. This will fill rows with serial numbers from 1 to 10. Refer to the below screenshot.
Number in Excel Example 2-5

#3 – Using the ROW Function

Excel has a built-in function, which also can be used to number the rows in Excel. To get the excel row numbering, enter the following formula in the first cell shown below:

Number in Excel Example 3
  • The ROW function gives the excel row number of the current row. I have subtracted 3 from it as I started the data from the 4th, So If your data starts from the 2nd row, subtract 1 from it.
  • See the below screenshot. Using =ROW()-3 Formula
Number in Excel Example 3-1

Drag this formula for the rest rows, and the final result is shown below.

Number in Excel Example 3

The benefit of using this formula for numbering is, if you delete a record in your dataset, then it will not screw up the numberings. Since the ROW function is not referencing any cell address, it will automatically adjust to give you the correct row number.

Things to Remember about Numbering in Excel

  • Fill Handle and Fill Series options are static. If you move or delete any record or row in the dataset, then the row number will not change accordingly.
  • ROW function gives the exact numbering if you cut and copy the data in Excel.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to Numbering in Excel. Here we discuss how to automatically add serial numbers in excel using fill handle, fill series, and ROW function along with examples and downloadable templates. You may learn more about excel functions from the following articles –

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