How to select multiple cells in Excel

Today’s guide will be about how to select multiple cells in Excel (adjacent or non-adjacent) using the mouse click, Shift, and Control key.

Check our easy-to-understand examples!

Selecting single or multiple cells is an essential skill in Excel because it stores the values, formulas, or conditional formatting rules in a cell or a range. However, it looks it is easy. Keep on reading, and you will get some valuable tips.

This tutorial will show you how to use the mouse and keyboard combinations to speed up your work. So, don’t forget that Excel basics are important things.

Table of contents:

  1. How to select multiple cells in Excel by mouse dragging
  2. Select multiple cells using the Shift key
  3. How to select cells with the Ctrl key
  4. Rows or columns
    1. Select a single Row or Column
    2. Select multiple Rows or Columns
  5. How to Select an Entire Worksheet
  6. Select Multiple Discrete Rows or Columns

How to select multiple cells by mouse dragging

First, maybe this is the most used task that everybody uses daily. So, in the first example, we’ll use adjacent cells to demonstrate the method.

Let us suppose that you want to select cells B5: E15.

Steps to select multiple cells:

  1. Select cell B5 to activate the top-left corner of the range
  2. Press and hold the mouse button.
  3. Move the cursor to cell E15
  4. Release the mouse button to highlight the range of cells
How to select multiple cells in Excel by mouse dragging

Not rocket science. Let us see another example!

Select multiple cells using the Shift key

If you do not prefer the drag and drop method, you can use the Shift key to select a range that contains continuous cells.

How to select a range using the Shift key?

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll use the previous range, cell B5:E15.

  1. Select cell B5
  2. Press and hold the Shift key
  3. Click on cell E15 and release the Shift key

Now you have multiple selections!

Select multiple cells using the Shift key

The result is the same as the previous example.

How to select cells with the Ctrl key

What if you want to select multiple cells without conjunction. Let us talk a bit about the role of the ‘Ctrl key! With its help, it’s easy to select or deselect multiple cells that are not connected.

To apply this multiple selection, follow the steps below:

  1. Select the cell
  2. Press and hold the ‘Ctrl key
  3. Hold the ‘Ctrl’ key on end, then click on another cell (or cells) that you want to select
How to use the Ctrl key

Now you can use various commands, like a copy, paste, cut, etc.

Finally, to deselect a cell, click on it again.

Select Rows or Columns

In practice, you need to select an entire row or column. The good news is that you can use the same steps as you selecting single or multiple cells. Take a closer look at each case.

Select a single Row or Column

  1. Hover the mouse over the row number that you want to select
  2. Click on the row by pressing the left mouse button to select the entire row.
select a single row column in Excel

Tip: How to identify that you selected the row or not? The answer is easy. From now on, the selected range (entire row) is light gray.

If you want to select a column, click the column header.

Select multiple Rows or Columns

In the previous example, you’ve selected a single row. Now try to select multiple rows! The point is that you want to select row numbers 5,6 and 7 at once.

How to do that?

  1. Move the cursor over the row number 5
  2. Hold the left button
  3. Move the cursor until row number 7
  4. Release the mouse button
multiple rows selection

If you want to apply the selection for columns, the method is the same. Select the first column labels by pressing the left mouse button. Next, hold the key until the end of the group of columns. Finally, release the key.

columns

How to Select an Entire Worksheet

So, you have two easy ways to select the entire worksheet in Excel:

• Click on the Select All button (locate the triangle on the top-left corner)
• Use the Ctrl + A keyboard shortcut

use keyboard shortcut ctrl A

Select Multiple Discrete Rows or Columns

If you want to select non-adjacent rows or columns, the Control key is your friend.

  1. Press and Hold the Control key
  2. Step by step left-click all discrete rows or columns that you want to highlight
  3. Release the Control key
discrete rows and columns

Additional resources