Microsoft Excel How-to: Keyboard Shortcut To Select Range of Cells in Excel

content logoHow many times have you needed to select a whole page of cells in Microsoft Excel, selected all of the data in the first row, then dragged, and dragged, and dragged to get to the last row of the data. Then, just as you get close to the last row with data it goes 'whoosh', and you find yourself 20,000 rows down. So you try to go back up the page, then go past the end of the data, then back down, then back up.... Well, you get the picture. There's a fast easy way, using a couple of shortcut keys.

Start by selecting cell A1, the first cell in the first row:


excel select shortcut 01


Now, all you need to do is to hold down the 'Shift' and the 'Ctrl' keys with your left hand, then click on the right arrow key with you right hand.


excel select shortcut 02


This will highlight the top row until you get to the first empty cell. Now, while still holding down the Shift and Ctrl keys, press the down arrow key:


excel select shortcut 03


This will highlight all of the cells in all of the rows until Excel gets to the first empty cell in the column from which you started. Say you have data in 4 columns (A - D), down 100 rows. You have all of the cells full down to row 50, where the cell in column A is empty. The next empty cell is in row 75, but this time is in column D. If you highlight the cells in the first row, starting from left to right like we did above, then highlight down using the down arrows Excel will go to row 50 and stop. However, if you start highlighting the first row starting in row D, highlight the first row by holding the Shift and Ctrl key and clicking the left arrow key, then highlight down Excel will now go to row 75 and then stop. If you do hit an empty cell and want to continue on just hit the down arrow key again and Excel will continue highlighting the cells until it gets to the next empty cell.