How to Select Rows, Columns, or Worksheets in Excel

01
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Select Entire Rows in a Worksheet with Shortcut Keys

Select Entire Rows in an Excel Worksheet with Shortcut Keys
Select Entire Rows in a Worksheet with Shortcut Keys. © Ted French

By selecting specific ranges of cells - such as entire rows, columns, data tables, or even entire worksheets, it makes it quick and easy to accomplish a number of tasks in Excel such as:

Select Rows With Shortcut Keys

The keyboard shortcut for highlighting an entire row in a worksheet is:

Shift + Spacebar

Using Shortcut Keys to Select a Worksheet Row

  1. Click on a worksheet cell in the row to be selected to make it the active cell
  2. Press and hold down the Shift key on the keyboard
  3. Press and release the Spacebar key on the keyboard without releasing the Shift key
  4. Release the Shift key
  5. All cells in the selected row should be highlighted - including the row header

Selecting Additional Rows

To select additional rows above or below the selected row

  1. Press and hold down the Shift key on the keyboard
  2. Use the Up or Down arrow keys on the keyboard to select additional rows above or below the selected row

Select Rows With the Mouse

An entire row can also be selected by:

  1. Place the mouse pointer on the row number in the row header - the mouse pointer changes to a black arrow pointing to the right as shown in the image above
  2. Click once with the left mouse button

Multiple rows can be selected by:

  1. Place the mouse pointer on the row number in the row header
  2. Click and hold down the left mouse button
  3. Drag the mouse pointer up or down to select the desired number of rows
02
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Select Entire Columns in a Worksheet with Shortcut Keys

Select Entire Columns in an Excel Worksheet with Shortcut Keys
Select Entire Columns in a Worksheet with Shortcut Keys. © Ted French

The key combination that is used to select an entire column is:

Ctrl + Spacebar

Using Shortcut Keys to Select a Worksheet Column

  1. Click on a worksheet cell in the column to be selected to make it the active cell
  2. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard
  3. Press and release the Spacebar key on the keyboard without releasing the Shift key
  4. Release the Ctrl key
  5. All cells in the selected column should be highlighted - including the column header

Selecting Additional Columns

To select additional columns on either side of the selected column

  1. Press and hold down the Shift key on the keyboard
  2. Use the Left or Right arrow keys on the keyboard to select additional columns on either side of the highlighted column

Select Columns With the Mouse

An entire column can also be selected by:

  1. Place the mouse pointer on the column letter in the column header - the mouse pointer changes to a black arrow pointing down as shown in the image above
  2. Click once with the left mouse button

Multiple rows can be selected by:

  1. Place the mouse pointer on the column letter in the column header
  2. Click and hold down the left mouse button
  3. Drag the mouse pointer left or right to select the desired number of rows
03
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Select All Cells in an Excel Worksheet with Shortcut Keys

Select All Cells in an Excel Worksheet using Shortcut Keys
Select All Cells in a Worksheet using Shortcut Keys.

The key combination for selecting all cells in a worksheet is:

There are two key combinations to choose from:

Ctrl + A

or

Ctrl + Shift + Spacebar

Using Shortcut Keys to Select All Cells in a Worksheet

  1. Click on a blank area of a worksheet - an area that contains no data in the surrounding cells
  2. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard
  3. Press and release the letter " A " key on the keyboard
  4. Release the Ctrl key

All cells in the worksheet should be selected.

Select All Cells in a Worksheet using the "Select All" Button

For those who do prefer not to use the keyboard, the Select All button is another option for quickly select all cells in a worksheet.

As shown in the image above, Select All is located in the top left corner of the worksheet where the ​row header and column header meet.

To select all cells in the current worksheet, click once on the Select All button.

04
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Select All Cells in a Table of Data in Excel with Shortcut Keys

Select All Cells in an Excel Data Table
Select All Cells in a Table of Data. © Ted French

All cells in a contiguous range of data or data table can quickly be selected using shortcut keys.

There are two key combinations to choose from:

Ctrl + A

or

Ctrl + Shift + Spacebar

This shortcut key combination the same shortcut keys that are used to select all cells in a worksheet.

Selecting Different Parts of the Data Table and Worksheet

Depending on the way the data in a worksheet is laid out formatted, using the shortcut keys above will select different amounts of data.

If the active cell highlight is located within a contiguous range of data is:

  • Press Ctrl + A once - Excel selects all the cells containing data in the range

If the data range has been formatted as a table and has a heading row containing drop down menus as shown in the image above.

  • Press Ctrl + A a second time - Excel selects the heading row

The selected area can then be extended to include all cells in a worksheet.

  • Press Ctrl + A a third time - Excel selects the entire worksheet
05
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Select Multiple Worksheets in Excel with Shortcut Keys

Select Multiple Worksheets with Keyboard Shortcuts in Excel
Select Multiple Worksheets in Excel. © Ted French

Not only is it possible to move between sheets in a workbook using a keyboard shortcut, but you can also select multiple adjacent sheets with a keyboard short cut as well.

To do so, add the Shift key to the two key combinations shown above. Which one you use depends on whether you are selecting sheets to the left or right of the current sheet.

 To select pages to the left:
 Ctrl + Shift + PgUp 

 To select pages to the right:
 Ctrl + Shift + PgDn

Selecting Multiple Sheets Using the Mouse and Keyboard

Using the mouse along with keyboard keys has one advantage over using just the keyboard - it allows you to select non-adjacent sheets as shown in the image above as well as adjacent ones.

Reasons for selecting multiple worksheets include:

Selecting Multiple Adjacent Sheets

  1. Click on one sheet tab to select it
  2. Press and hold down the Shift key on the keyboard
  3. Click on additional adjacent sheet tabs to highlight them

Selecting Multiple Non-Adjacent Sheets

  1. Click on one sheet tab to select it
  2. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard
  3. Click on additional sheet tabs to highlight them