Updated November 2021
Knowing how to select multiple cells in Excel and Google Sheets is a worthwhile skill to have in your repertoire if you often work with cells in either program. There are a few different ways to select multiple cells, so read on to see how each method works and which one will be best for you.
How to Select Multiple Cells
Here are the different ways to select multiple cells. They include both how to select multiple cells in Excel with and without a mouse.
Method One – Keyboard
The first method involves how to select multiple cells in Excel with a keyboard. This method and the ones to follow will also apply to Google Sheets.
To do this, start by opening an already existing Excel or Google worksheet file or creating a blank worksheet from either spreadsheet program’s main menu.
After doing either of those two options, hold down the shift key (it does not matter if it is the left or right shift key) and use the arrow keys to navigate what cells you want to select.
Assuming you’re starting from the first cell in the top left corner, you will see the green box around that cell expand either downwards or to the right depending on which arrow key you press.
You will be able to keep track of how many cells you have selected because they will become highlighted in gray. The only cell that will remain white is the starting cell from which you initially begin. So, for example, if you start on cell A1 and hold shift while pressing the right arrow key, cell A1 will stay white while cell B1 will turn gray.
One small thing to note is that in Google Sheets, the starting cell will also become highlighted instead of staying white.
Method Two – Name Box
Another way to select multiple cells and keep track of what cells you have selected is to use the name box on the left side of the spreadsheet above the first row of cells.
By default, it will say A1 or whatever the letter and number are of the cell you’re currently on, but it will change when you highlight more than one cell.
The name box also tracks the selection of multiple cells differently in Excel and Google Sheets.
If you highlight the A1 and B1 cells in Excel, the name box will say 1R x 2C, which signifies one range by two cells. Whereas in Google Sheets, doing the same thing will cause the name box to say A1:B1.
You can also select cells directly from the name box by double-clicking on it or using the Ctrl + J command and typing in the cells you wish to choose. For example, if you type in A1:H10 into the name box and press enter, A1, H10, and every cell between them will become highlighted.
Method Three – Mouse
The keyboard and name box methods are best if you need to select multiple cells without a mouse, but it is much faster to highlight lots of cells at once if you have a mouse.
To select multiple cells, use the left-click button on your mouse and double-click a cell that you do not already have chosen. After doing that, drag your cursor over whatever other cells you want to select, and you will see them turn gray with the highlight.
Note: Double-clicking on an already selected cell will enable you to type text into that cell, so be sure to double-click on an unselected cell.
An alternative version of this method involves clicking on one cell and then holding shift and clicking on another cell. Doing this will highlight the currently selected cell, the second cell you choose, and any cells that sit between the two.
For how to select multiple cells in Excel that are not next to each other, hold either the left or right control key and click on the cell you wish to highlight. You can then repeat this process to highlight as many cells as you want.
How to Select Multiple Cells in Excel on Mac
To select multiple Cells in Excel on Mac, click the table to select it and then click the cell you want to start with. Once that’s done, drag the white dot over the other cells you wish to highlight.
How to Select Rows in Excel/How to Select Rows in Google Sheets
Like most of the information and methods covered thus far, selecting one or multiple rows works the same in Excel and Google Sheets.
Method One – Using Mouse Only
To select a row with a mouse, you can click the number at the beginning of the row, and every cell in that row will become highlighted.
Method Two – Using the Shift Key
If you want to select multiple rows in Excel and Google Sheets with the shift key, click on the initial row you want and then hold shift while selecting the next row. Much like choosing multiple cells, holding shift and selecting another row will also highlight every row in between. So, selecting row one initially before selecting row ten will also highlight rows two through nine.
Method Three – Using the Control Key
To select multiple rows that are not sitting right beside one another, hold the control key before clicking on a row. You can also intermix selecting other cells by selecting individual cells instead of only clicking on the row numbers.
How to Select All Rows
The easiest and most efficient way to select all rows in either Google Sheets or Excel is to use the control Ctrl + A command. This command will highlight every cell from every row in the worksheet, and it is also how you select all cells with value in Excel.
Now you know the various ways to select one or more cells in both Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets! Read on to learn how to alternate row color in Excel and Google Sheets.
Being that cells are excellent ways to store and sort lots of information, knowing how to navigate between them is key to maximizing your work efficiency as much as possible. There are more nuanced ways to interact with cells in both Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, but these basic methods are great starting points to get you on your way.
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