Quick, clean, and to the point

How to select cells in Excel

In this lesson, we'll look at the first step in doing almost anything in Excel - selecting one or more cells. Excel will let you select one cell, a range of cells, or any combination of single and multiple cells.

Let's take a look.

The first thing to understand about selecting cells is that there is always at least one cell already selected already in the worksheet. To see what is currently selected, check the name window. The name window will display a reference to the current selection.

To select one cell in Excel, just click anywhere in the worksheet.

Notice that the address shown in the name window is continuously updated.

To select more than one cell, click a cell in the worksheet, hold your mouse down, and drag to expand the selection.

If you watch the name window, you'll see the number of rows and columns currently selected. This will change dynamically as you expand or reduce the selection.

When you let go of the mouse, the name window will display the address of the upper left cell in the selection.

What if you want to select cells that aren't next to each other? For that, we need to use a modifier key to tell Excel to add to our selection.

Make the first selection normally. Then, while holding down the control key, make your next selection. You can add as many selections as you like.

With multiple selections, notice that the name window will display the address for the upper left cell in the last selection made.

Why would you want to make multiple selections? The most common reasons is to change formatting in more than one place at the same time. We'll look at how to do this in future lessons.


Related shortcuts

Dave Bruns