Select cells quickly and easily in Excel using the keyboard instead of the mouse

Once you get used to using Excel, you can find that using the mouse to select data in your spreadsheet is somewhat slow and time consuming. Here's a quick technique for selecting a range of cells in Excel.

  • Move the active cell (that's the cell currently selected) to the start of the range of cells you want to select.
  • Then, hold the SHIFT key down and use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move in the direction of the last cell in the range of cells you want to select.
    • Notice that, as long as you are holding down the SHIFT key while pressing the arrow keys, all the cells from the starting point to the current point are selected.
  • Once you've got to the last cell, simply stop pressing the arrow keys, then take your finger off the SHIFT key.

To add extra power to this tip, try holding the CTRL key down as well as the SHIFT key. You'll find that the active cell jumps across empty sections of the spreadsheet, or across non-empty sections. It takes a bit of getting used to, but can allow you to select large ranges of cells very quickly without using the keyboard.