5. Essential Shortcuts for Cell Selection

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

Lesson Notes

Useful keyboard shortcuts: Cell selection

SHIFT + →: Select cells in the direction of arrow
CTRL + SHIFT + →: Select all cells within data region
CTRL + A: Select all cells in data region
SHIFT + Spacebar: Select entire row
CTRL + Spacebar: Select entire column
Shift + F8: Select multiple data regions
If you have cells selected and then use another selection command, Excel performs this command on every selected cell


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 Ctrl + Shift and press the right arrow key.

If we now press Ctrl + Shift and the down arrow key, it selects the whole region.

We can also select a data region by simply pressing Ctrl + 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 Space Bar.

And to select a whole column, we press Ctrl and Space Bar.

If I press Ctrl 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 13-23, 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 Ctrl + 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 Ctrl + 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 on navigation and selection I'll be covering in this course.

Although there are many more navigation and selection shortcuts available, I find that the few I've included in this lesson tend to satisfy all of my needs.

Shortcuts may take some time getting used to and you will be tempted to use the mouse, but mastering these shortcuts will save you a huge amount of time when working in Excel.

Using the show notes below this video, I'd encourage you to plug out your mouse and practice navigating and selecting using these shortcuts until you're comfortable moving around a spreadsheet.

It's tedious at first, but you'll quickly see a dramatic improvement in how fast you can move around an Excel workbook.