5. Essential Shortcuts for Cell Selection


Selecting cells can be accomplished very quickly with a couple of very useful keyboard shortcuts. Find out how they work in this short lesson.

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  1. Cell Selection Shortcuts (00:14)

    Many cell selection shortcuts use the Shift key. For example, holding Shift and the right arrow key selects cells to the right, one cell at a time. Holding Ctrl, Shift and Right selects all cells to the right to the end of the current data region.

    Ctrl + A selects all the cells in the current data region. Shift + Space selects all cells in the current row, while Ctrl + Space selects all cells in the current column. Ctrl + Shift + Space selects all cells on the current sheet.

    Shift + F8 selects the highlighted cells, and allows you to select additional cells. This is useful when selecting multiple regions which are not directly beside each other.


In the previous lesson, we learned how to navigate in Excel with the keyboard. In this lesson, we'll learn how to select cells and ranges of cells with the keyboard. The cell selection shortcuts are very similar to many of the navigation shortcuts. We simply hold Shift and press the same shortcut. For example, to select the cells on the right, we simply hold the Shift button and keep pressing the right arrow key. If we'd like to select all the cells to the right within a data region, we simply hold Control + Shift and press the right arrow key. If we now press Control + Shift and the down arrow key, it selects the whole region.

We can also select a data region by simply pressing Control + A when the cursor is within the data region.

To select a whole row and not just within a data region, we hold Shift and press the Space bar, and to select a whole column, we press Control and Space bar.

If I press Control and Space bar and then Shift and Space bar, it selects all the cells in the data sheet.

You might be asking yourself, is it possible to select multiple data regions at the same time? And the answer is, of course. Let's say we'd like to select the data region between rows 1 to 12, and also between rows 13 to 23, but not the blank row in the middle. Well, the first thing we'll do is select rows 1 to 12. So I'll hold Control + Shift and press right arrow and then down arrow.

I'll then press Shift + F8, which selects these cells, but also allows me to move and select additional cells. I'll now press Control + Shift + right arrow again, and down arrow to select the second area. I can even press Shift + F8 again, so that I can move the cursor and select additional cells to these two areas if I need to.

Shift + F8 is a great shortcut to use particularly when you're looking to change the format of multiple data regions at the same time.

The Shift + F8 command wraps up all the keyboard shortcuts and navigation and selection I'll be covering in this course. Although there are many more navigation and selection shortcuts available, I find the few that I've included in this lesson tend to satisfy all of my needs. Shortcuts may take some time getting used to, and you'll be tempted to use the mouse, but mastering these shortcuts will save you a huge amount of time when working in Excel. It's tedious at first, but you'll quickly see a dramatic improvement in how fast you can move around an Excel workbook.