# How to Put Serial Number in Excel: The Fast-Track Shortcut

Ever needed to quickly add a sequence of numbers in your Excel spreadsheet? Maybe you’re creating an inventory list, tracking project tasks, or just want to bring some order to your data. That’s where serial numbers come in – a handy way to automatically generate a list of sequential numbers. While there’s no single magic key to insert them, Excel offers a few user-friendly methods to get the job done.

In this guide, we will explore all the essentials for adding serial numbers in Excel, from using the Fill Series shortcut to exploring alternative methods. We’ll keep the explanation clear and concise, so even if you’re new to Excel, you’ll be a numbering pro in no time.

## Using The Fill Series Shortcut to Put Serial Number in Excel

Let’s jump right into the method using the Fill Series shortcut. Imagine you have a product list and want to assign a number to each item. Here’s how to do it in a flash:

**1) Type the Starting Number:** In the first cell of your desired sequence, type the number you want to begin with. For instance, if you want your list to start at 1, simply enter 1 in that cell.

**2) Activate the Shortcut:** With the cell containing your starting number selected, press the following keys on your keyboard: **Alt** + **H** + **F** + **I** + **S**. This might seem like a mouthful at first, but with practice, it’ll become second nature.

**3) Fine-Tuning the Sequence:** A window titled “Fill Series” will appear. Here’s where you can customize your serial number list:

**Series in:**This option determines the direction your numbers will fill. Choose “Columns” if you want them to go down the column, or “Rows” if you want them to fill across the row.**Start value:**This is already filled with the number you entered in step 1, but you can adjust it if needed.**Step value:**By default, this is set to 1, meaning the numbers will increase by 1 for each cell. Change it to a higher value (e.g., 2, 3) if you want bigger jumps between numbers.**Stop value:**Enter the last number you want in the sequence here. Let’s say you have 10 items in your list, so you’d enter 10 in the stop value box.

**4) Filling Up:** Once you’ve configured the settings, click **OK**. Excel will automatically populate the selected range (which you can leave blank initially) with your specified serial number sequence. Voila! Your list is now conveniently numbered.

## Alternative Methods for Serial Numbering

The Fill Series shortcut is a great time-saver, but there are other ways to achieve serial numbering in Excel. Let’s explore a couple of these options:

### 1. Formula Power: Using ROW() Function

Excel offers powerful functions that can be used for various tasks, and serial numbering is no exception. Here, we’ll use the ROW() function, which simply returns the row number of the cell it’s entered in.

**Enter the Formula:**In the cell where you want the first number to appear, type the following formula:`=ROW()`

. For example, if you enter this formula in cell A1, it will return 1 because it’s in the first row.**Copy and Fill Down:**Once you have the formula in the first cell, drag the small black square in the bottom right corner of the cell down to the remaining cells where you want the sequence to appear. As you drag, Excel will automatically copy the formula and adjust the row number accordingly. This fills your selected range with a sequence based on row positions.

### 2. Fill Handle for Simple Sequences

This method is particularly useful when you want a basic sequential numbering starting from 1 and increasing by 1.

**Type the Starting Numbers:**Enter the first two numbers of your desired sequence in adjacent cells. For example, type 1 in cell A1 and 2 in cell A2.**Drag the Fill Handle:**Click and hold the small black square in the bottom right corner of cell A2 (containing the number 2). This is called the fill handle. While holding it, drag down to the remaining cells where you want the sequence to continue. Excel will recognize the pattern (increasing by 1) and automatically fill the range with the corresponding sequential numbers.

## Customizing Serial Numbers with Text Functions

While the methods above generate basic numeric sequences, you might want to add some flair or context to your serial numbers. Here’s where Excel’s text functions come in handy.

### 1. Adding Prefix or Suffix with TEXT Function

Let’s say you want your serial numbers to start with “INV-” (for inventory) followed by a sequential number. The TEXT function allows you to combine text and numbers into a formatted string. Here’s how:

**Enter the Formula:**In the first cell where you want the customized number, enter the following formula:`=TEXT(ROW()-1,"INV-000")`

.

**Explanation:**`ROW()`

: This retrieves the current row number. Since we want numbering to start from “INV-001”, we subtract 1 to adjust for the starting position.`TEXT()`

: This function formats the row number into a specific text string.`"INV-000"`

: This defines the desired format for the serial number. “INV-” is the fixed text prefix, and “000” represents three placeholder zeroes for the sequential number.

**Copy and Fill Down:**Similar to the ROW() function method, copy the formula in the first cell and drag the fill handle down to apply it to the remaining cells. Excel will automatically adjust the row number in the formula, generating serial numbers like “INV-001”, “INV-002”, and so on.

### 2. Creating Custom Codes with CONCATENATE Function

If you need more complex numbering schemes, you can combine the ROW() function with the CONCATENATE function. CONCATENATE allows you to merge multiple text strings or numbers into a single string.

**Enter the Formula:**In the first cell, enter the following formula:`=CONCATENATE("PROD-",YEAR(TODAY()),"-",TEXT(ROW()-1,"000"))`

.

**Explanation:**`CONCATENATE()`

: This function combines the following elements.`"PROD-"`

: This is the fixed text prefix for your product codes.`YEAR(TODAY())`

: This retrieves the current year and ensures your codes reflect the year they were created.`"-"`

: This adds a hyphen as a separator.`TEXT(ROW()-1,"000")`

: This generates the sequential number portion, similar to the previous example.

**Copy and Fill Down:**As before, copy the formula and drag the fill handle down to populate the remaining cells. This will create serial numbers like “PROD-2024-001”, “PROD-2024-002”, and so on.

## Additional Tips and Tricks

**Absolute vs. Relative References:**When copying formulas across rows or columns, pay attention to cell references. By default, Excel uses relative references, which adjust based on their position in the formula. If you want a specific cell reference to remain constant (like the year in the CONCATENATE example), use the F4 key to toggle between relative and absolute references.**Formatting Serial Numbers:**Once you’ve created your custom serial numbers, you can format them for better readability. Select the range containing your numbers, right-click, and choose “Format Cells”. You can adjust number format, add leading zeros, or change text alignment as needed.**Error Handling:**If you encounter errors while using formulas, double-check the syntax and cell references for typos. Excel will usually display an error message indicating the issue.

By mastering these methods, you can create a variety of customized serial numbers to enhance your Excel spreadsheets and streamline your data organization. So, the next time you need to add order to your data, remember these handy techniques and put the power of serial numbers to work for you!

## FAQs

### What is the fastest way to add serial numbers in Excel?

### How can I use formulas to create serial numbers in Excel?

### Can I add text to my serial numbers in Excel?

### How can I create more complex serial number formats in Excel?

### What should I do if I encounter errors while using formulas for serial numbers?

Vaishvi Desai is the founder of Excelsamurai and a passionate Excel enthusiast with years of experience in data analysis and spreadsheet management. With a mission to help others harness the power of Excel, Vaishvi shares her expertise through concise, easy-to-follow tutorials on shortcuts, formulas, Pivot Tables, and VBA.