How to Select Entire Column (or Row) in Excel – Shortcut

Working with Excel means working with cells and ranges in the rows and columns in it.

And if you work with large datasets, selecting entire rows and columns is quite a common task.

Just like with most things in Excel, there is more than one way to select a column or row in Excel.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to select a column or row using a simple shortcut, as well as some other easy methods.

I will also show you how to do this when you’re working with an Excel table or Pivot Table.

So let’s get started!

Select Entire Column/Row Using Keyboard Shortcut

Let’s start with the keyboard shortcut.

Suppose you have a dataset as shown below and you want to select an entire column (say column C).

Dataset where column needs to be selected

The first thing to do is select any cell in Column C.

Once you have any cell in column C selected, use the below keyboard shortcut:

CONTROL + SPACE

Hold the Control key and then press the spacebar key on your keyboard

In case you’re using Excel on Mac, use COMMAND + SPACE

The above shortcut would instantly select the entire column (as you will see it gets highlighted in gray – indicating that it’s selected)

Entire Column is selected

You can use the same shortcut to select multiple contiguous columns as well. For example, suppose you want to select both columns C and D.

To do this, select two adjacent cells (one in column C and one in Column D) and then use the same keyboard shortcut.

Selecting the Entire Row

If you want to select the entire row, select any cell in the row that you want to be selected and then use the below keyboard shortcut

SHIFT + SPACE

Hold the Shift key and then press the Spacebar key.

You will again see that it gets selected and highlighted in gray.

Selected entire column with shortcut

In case you want to select multiple contiguous rows, select multiple adjacent cells in the same column and then use the keyboard shortcut.

Select Entire Column (or Multiple Columns) Using Mouse

I have a feeling you may already know this method, but let me cover it anyway (it will be short).

Select One Column (or Row)

If you want to select an entire column (say column D), hover the cursor over the column headers (where it says D). You will notice that the cursor changes to a black downward-pointing arrow.

Cursor changes to a downward pointing arrow

Now, click the left mouse key.

Doing this will select the entire column D.

Entire Column D is selected

Similarly, if you want to select the entire row, click on the row number (in the row header on the left)

Select Multiple Contiguous Columns (or Rows)

Suppose you want to select multiple columns that are next to each other (say column D, E, and F)

Follow the below steps to do this:

  • Place the cursor on the left most column header of column D
  • Press the left mouse key and keep it pressed
  • With the left key pressed, drag the mouse to also cover column E and F

The above steps would automatically select all the columns in between the first and the last selected column.

Contiguous columns selected

And the same way, you can also select multiple contiguous rows.

Select Multiple Non-Contiguous Columns (or Rows)

This is the most common scenario where you need to select multiple columns that are not next to each other (say column D, and F).

Below are the steps to do this:

  • Place the cursor at the column heading of one of the columns (say column D in this case)
  • Click the mouse left key to select the column
  • Press and hold the Control key
  • With the Control key pressed, select all the other columns you want to select
Multiple Non-contiguous columns selected

You can do the same with rows as well.

Select Entire Column (or Multiple Columns) Using Name Box

Use this method when you want to:

  • Select a far-off row or column
  • Select multiple contiguous or non-contiguos rows/columns

Name box is a small box that is left of the formula bar.

Name Box in Excel

While the main purpose of the Name Box is to quickly name a cell or range of cells, you can also use it to quickly select any column (or row).

For example, if you want to select the entire column D, enter the following in the name box and hit enter:

D:D

Similarly, if you want to select multiple columns (say D, E, and F), enter the following in the name box:

D:F

And that’s not it!

If you want to select multiple columns that are not adjacent, say D, H, and I, you can enter the below:

D:D,H:H,I:I

When I used to work as a financial analyst years ago, I found this trick extremely useful. It allowed me to quickly select columns and format them at once, or delete/hide these columns in one go.

The Named Range Trick

Let me also show you another wonderful trick.

Suppose you’re working in a workbook where you may often have a need to select far-off columns (say column B, D, and G).

Instead of doing it one by one or entering it manually in the Name Box, here is what you can do – create a named range that refers to the columns you want to select.

Once created, you can simply enter the named range name in the Name box (or select it from the drop-down)

Below are the steps to create a named range for specific columns:

  1. Select the columns for which you want to create the named range (hold the Control key and then select the columns one-by-one)
  2. Enter the name you want to give to the selection in the Name Box (no spaces allowed in the name). In this example, I will use the name SalesData
Select the columns and enter the name in name box
  1. Hit Enter

Once this is done, you have created a named range in Excel that now refers to the columns you selected (B, D, and G in my example).

And now it’s time for magic.

If you want to quickly select the columns B, D, and G, just enter the name in the Name box and hit enter (or click on the small drop-down icon at the end of the name box and select the name from the list).

Select named range from the drop down

Voila, all the columns would be selected.

Column B D and G Selected

This technique is useful if you may have a need to select the same columns multiple times in the same sheet.

You can use this technique to select rows as well as different ranges. For example, if you want to select two separate ranges in Excel, just follow the same steps (instead of selected columns, select the ranges and give them a name).

Select Column in an Excel Table

When working with Excel Tables, you may sometimes have a need to select an entire row or column in the table.

This means that you don’t want to select the entire column in the worksheet, but the entire column of the table.

Here is the trick to do this:

  1. Place the cursor on the header of the Excel table (note this is the header of the column in the Excel table, not the one that displays the column letter)
  2. You will notice that the cursor would chnage into a downward pointing black arrow
Cursor to select the entire row in excel table
  1. Click the left mouse key

The above steps would select the entire column in the Excel Table (and not the full column).

And if you want to select multiple columns, hold the Control key and repeat the process for all the columns you want to select.

Select Column in an Pivot Table

Just like the Excel table, you can also quickly select an entire row or column in a Pivot Table.

Suppose you have a Pivot Table as shown below and you want to select the Sales columns,

Below are the steps to do this:

  1. Place the cursor on the header of the Pivot table header that you want to select
  2. You will notice that the cursor would chnage into a downward pointing black arrow
Cursor to select the entire column in a pivot table
  1. Click the left mouse key

These steps would select the Sales column. Similarly, if you want to select multiple columns, hold the Control key and then make the selection.

So these are some of the common ways you can use to select an entire column or an entire row in Excel.

I hope you found this tutorial useful!

Other Excel tutorials you may also like:

Excel Ebook Subscribe

FREE EXCEL BOOK

Get 51 Excel Tips Ebook to skyrocket your productivity and get work done faster