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Shortcuts for Go To Special

In this video, we'll take a look at some shortcuts for selecting "special cells".

Excel provides a dedicated dialog box to access special groups of cells, called "Go To Special".

To access this dialog with the keyboard, type Control + G, then click the Special button (or use Alt + S) on Windows. There you'll find a large list of options.

As with the Paste Special dialog, on Windows you can use the underlined letters to select different options. 

So, let's go through these options. In cases where there is a dedicated shortcut, I'll use that. Otherwise, I'll use the Go To Special dialog.

To select all cells that contain comments, use the dedicated shortcut Control + Shift + O

To select only cells that contain constants, use Control + G, Alt S + O

To select all formulas, use Control + G, Alt S + F

With both formulas and constants, there are options you can enable or disable by typing a letter.

You can form example select all formulas that return a text result.

When working with formulas, you can select direct precedents of a formula using Ctrl+ [

You can select all precedents to a formula using Control + Shift + {

To select direct dependents of one or more cells, use Control + ]

And to select all dependents of one or more cells, use Control + Shift + }

To select all Blank cells. Use Control + G, Alt S + K. This will select all blank cells inside the work area of the current sheet.

Keep in mind that you can often restrict the scope of select special commands, by selecting a smaller group of cells first.

To select all cells in the current region, use Control + A, or Command + A on a Mac.

If you're working with a multi-cell array formula, you can select other formulas in the array with Control + /.

To select all objects on a worksheet, use Control + G, Alt S + B

This will select all objects that float above the grid. You can deselect with escape.

There are two dedicated shortcuts for selecting differences in rows and columns.

To select cells that are different from values in a first column, use control +

To select cells that are different from values in a first row, use control + shift + |

When you have hidden rows or columns, use Alt + ; to select visible cells only. On a Mac, this shortcut is command + shift + Z

To select all cells in a worksheet that use conditional formatting, use Control + G, Alt S + T

Finally, you can select all cells that use data validation with Control + G, Alt S + V

With both data validation and conditional formatting, you can restrict the selection to match the current selection.

For example, to select only cells with the same data validation, select a cell first, then use Control + G, Alt S + VE.


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Dave Bruns

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