Selecting cells and moving around an Excel worksheet

Posted: June 7, 2018

If you are new to Excel, before you start entering data it’s a good idea to become familiar with how to select cells using the keyboard and the mouse.

Using the cell selector

The cell selector is the heavy outlined rectangle that indicates the current working position (selected cell or cells).

This can easily be moved simply by clicking a cell. Just be sure that the mouse pointer is displayed as a fat white cross before you click.

Excel big fat white cross

You can also move the cell selector using the directional arrow keys on your keyboard.

Excel keyboard arrow keys

You will notice the row number and column letter are highlighted to indicate the current position of the cell selector. In the example below cell A1 is currently the selected cell.

Excel selecting a cell

The cell selector can be extended to cover multiple cells by clicking and dragging the mouse pointer across the selection (just make sure the mouse pointer is a fat white cross before clicking and dragging) or by holding down SHIFT on your keyboard and pressing your arrow keys in the direction you wish to move.

This is called ‘selecting’.

To select more than one range, select a range as normal and then press and hold down CTRL on your keyboard while selecting additional ranges.

We do this so that we can update all of the selected cells at the same time. For example, apply a colour to a range or delete data from multiple cells.

There are number of keyboard shortcuts that you can teach yourself so that you can whiz around the worksheet quickly. I’ve outlined these for you in my post Excel keyboard shortcuts for selecting and moving around a worksheet.

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