7 Easy Ways to Select Multiple Cells in Excel

Selecting a cell is one of the most basic things users do in Excel.

There are many different ways to select a cell in Excel – such as using the mouse or the keyboard (or a combination of both).

In this article, I would show you how to select multiple cells in Excel. These cells could all be together (contiguous) or separated (non-contiguous)

While this is quite simple, I’m sure you’ll pick up a couple of new tricks to help you speed up your work and be more efficient.

So let’s get started!

Select Multiple Cells (that are all contiguous)

If you know how to select one cell in Excel, I’m sure you also know how to select multiple cells.

But let me still cover this anyway.

Suppose you want to select cells A1:D10.

Below are the steps to do this:

  1. Place the cursor on cell A1
  2. Select cell A1 (by using the left mouse button). Keep the mouse button pressed.
  3. Drag the cursor till cell D10 (so that it covers all the cells between A1 and D10)
  4. Leave the mouse button

Select Multiple Cells contiguous cells

Easy-peasy, right?

Now let’s see some more cases.

Select Rows/Columns

A lot of times, you will be required to select an entire row or column (or even multiple rows or columns). These could be to hide or delete these rows/columns, move it around in the worksheet, highlight it, etc.

Just like you can select a cell in Excel by placing the cursor and clicking the mouse, you can also select a row or a column by simply clicking on the row number or column alphabet.

Let’s go through each of these cases.

Select a Single Row/Column

Here is how you can select an entire row in Excel:

  1. Bring the cursor over the row number of the row that you want to selectPlace the cursor on the row number that you want to select
  2. Use the left mouse-click to select the entire rowEntire row selected

When you select the entire row, you will see that the color of that selection changes (it becomes a bit darker as compared to the rest of the cell in the worksheet).

Just like we have selected a row in Excel, you can also select a column (where instead of clicking on the row number, you have to click on the column alphabet, which is at the top of the column).

Select Multiple Rows/Columns

Now, what if you don’t want to select just one row.

What if you want to select multiple rows?

For example, let’s say that you want to select row number 2, 3, and 4 at the same time.

Here is how to do that:

  1. Place the cursor over row number 2 in the worksheet
  2. Press the mouse left button while your cursor is on row number two (keep the mouse button pressed)
  3. Keep the mouse left-button still pressed and drag the cursor down till row 4
  4. Leave the mouse button

Select multiple rows in Excel

You’ll see that this would select three adjacent rows that you covered through your mouse.

Just like we have selected three adjacent rows, you can follow the same steps to select multiple columns as well.

Select Multiple Non-Adjacent Rows/Columns

What if you want to select multiple rows, but these are not-adjacent.

For example, you may want to select row numbers 2, 4, 7.

In such a case you cannot use the mouse drag technique covered above because it would select all the rows in between.

To do this, you will have to use a combination of keyboard and mouse.

Here is how to select non-adjacent multiple rows in Excel:

  1. Place the cursor over row number 2 in the worksheet
  2. Hold the Control key on your keyboard
  3. Press the mouse left button while your cursor is on row number 2
  4. Leave the mouse button
  5. Place the cursor over the next row you want to select (row 4 in this case),
  6. Hold the Control key on your keyboard
  7. Press the mouse left button while your cursor is on row number 4. Once row 4 is also selected, leave the mouse button
  8. Repeat the same to select row 7 as well
  9. Leave the Control key

Select multiple non adjacent rows

The above steps would select multiple non-adjacent rows in the worksheet.

You can use the same method to select multiple non-adjacent columns.

Select All the Cells in the Current Table/Data

Most of the time, when you have to select multiple cells in Excel, these would be the cells in a specific table or a dataset.

You can do this by using a simple keyboard shortcut.

Below are the steps to select all the cells in the current table:

  1. Select any cell within the data setSelect any cell in the table
  2. Hold the Ctrl key and then press the A keyAll cells in the table are selected

The above steps would select all the cells in the data set (where Excel considers this data set to extend until it encounters a blank row or column).

As soon as Excel encounters a blank row or blank column, it would consider this as the end of the data set (so anything beyond the blank row/column will not be selected)

Select All the Cells in the Worksheet

Another common task that is often done is to select all the cells in the worksheet.

I often work with data downloaded from different databases, and often this data is formatted in a certain way. And my first step as soon as I get this data is to select all the cells and remove all the formatting.

Here is how you can select all the cells in the active worksheet:

  1. Select the worksheet in which you want to select all the cells
  2. Click on the small inverted triangle at the top left part of the worksheetInverted gray triangle to select all the cells in the worksheet

This would instantly select all the cells in the entire worksheet (note that this would not select any object such as a chart or shape in the worksheet).

And if you are a keyboard shortcut aficionado, you can use the below shortcut:

Control + A + A (hold the control key and press the A key twice)

If you have selected a blank cell that does not have any data around it, you don’t need to press the A key twice (just use Control-A).

Select Multiple Non-Contiguous Cells

The more you work with Excel, the more you would have a need to select multiple non-contiguous cells (such as A2, A4, A7, etc.)

Below I have an example where I only want to select the records for the US. And since these are not adjacent to each other, I somehow need to figure out how to select all these multiple cells at the same time.

Data with country records in non adjacent rows

Again, you can do this easily using a combination of keyboard and mouse.

Below are the steps to do this:

  1. Hold the Control key on the keyboard
  2. One by one, select all the non-contiguous cells (or range of cells) that you want to remain selected
  3. When done, leave the Control key

Non adjacent ranges selected

The above technique also works when you want to select non-contiguous rows or columns. You can simply hold the Control key and select the non-adjacent rows/columns.

Select Cells Using Name Box

So far we have seen examples where we could manually select the cells because they were close by.

But in some cases, you may have to select multiple cells or rows/columns that are far off in the worksheet.

Of course, you can do that manually, but you’ll soon realize that it’s time-consuming and error-prone.

If it’s something you have to do quite often (that is, select the same cells or rows/columns), you can use the Name Box to do it a lot faster.

Name Box is the small field that you have on the left of the formula bar in Excel.

NameBox in Excel

When you type a cell reference (or a range reference) in the name box, it selects all the specified cells.

For example, let’s say I want to select cell A1, K3, and M20

Since these are quite far off, if I try and select these using the mouse, I would have to scroll a little bit.

This may be justified if you only have to do it once in a while, but in case you have to say select the same cells often, you can use the name box instead.

Below are the steps to select multiple cells using the name box:

  1. Click on the name box
  2. Enter the cell references that you want to select (separated by comma)Enter cells you want to select in namebox
  3. Hit the enter key

The above steps would instantly select all the cells that you have entered in the name box.

Of these selected cells, one would be the active cell (and the cell reference of the active cell would now be visible in the name box).

Select a Named Range

If you have created a named range in Excel, you can also use the Name Box to refer to the entire named range (instead of using the cell references as shown in the method above)

If you don’t know what a Named Range is, it’s when you assign a name to a cell or a range of cells and then use the name instead of the cell reference in formulas.

Below are the steps to quickly create a Named Range in Excel:

  1. Select the cells that you want to be included in the Named Range
  2. Click on the Name box (which is the field adjacent to the formula bar)
  3. Enter the name that you want to assign to the selected range of cells (you can’t have spaces in the name)Creating a Named range thrpough Name Box
  4. Hit the Enter key

The above steps would create a Named Range for the cells that you selected.

Now, if you want to quickly select these same cells, instead of doing that manually you can simply go to the Name box and enter the name of the named range (or click on the dropdown icon and select the name from there)

Select the named range from the name box

This would instantly select all the cells that are part of that Named Range.

So, these are some of the methods that you can use to select multiple cells in Excel.

I hope you found this tutorial useful.

Other Excel tutorials you may like:

Excel Ebook Subscribe

FREE EXCEL BOOK

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