Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
In Excel, as with all other Windows programs, you have to know how to select your data if you want to modify it. So let's take a look at a few techniques. Well some are pretty straightforward. Put your mouse pointer here at the beginning and you can just drag and as long as you don't let go off the mouse button, you can reduce or enlarge the selection area. Okay, that's great, but what if you wanted to select some things that are not quite so straightforward? Well let's do this. Click on the first cell here A5. Now if you scroll down, you can see there's the end of this selection area.
Well, it can be kind of hard to try to drag to select that, because Excel starts doing that and it can scroll much faster than you can select. So I'm just going to press Ctrl+Home. So here's an easier way to do that. Click the first cell, scroll down, so I'm just to use going to use the rolling wheel on the mouse, put your mouse pointer on the last cell there, and before you click hold the Shift key down. So if you Shift+click, now you can select that entire area. Then you could go in reverse too. Just click to deselect, click the last cell, go up here and Shift+click the first one.
Now let's say if you know where you want to select to, so for example, this cell here we know is cell G28. Let's click over here and now click up on that Name box. Now if you simply type G28 and press Enter, your cursor goes to G28. Well, that's great but if you click there and click in the Name box, type G28 and press Shift+Enter, now you can select that entire area. So if you want to select large areas of cells, I think that's a pretty good way to do it.
Well, you could also select random areas. So for example, I'll select this row, hold the Ctrl key down, and with the Ctrl key down, you can select random areas, even individual cells, as long as you're holding the Ctrl key down and then click anywhere and you can deselect. Now you could do this with entire columns and entire rows. So example, you can click the header for Column B and if you hold Ctrl key down, you can click headers for other columns and select other columns.
Why would you want to do this? Well, maybe you want to make them Bold, so you hit the Bold button, or maybe you want to make them Italic or some other formatting. So that's what that's for, and that's the Ctrl key. If you click the header for column B and Shift+click the header for column G, now you select all of them. You could also drag to select. Make sure that it's a down arrow. Then you can drag to select, and rows work the same way. You can click a row, hold down your Shift key, and then Shift+click to select more, Shift+click to select fewer.
If you use the Ctrl key you can select one and any random other rows that you want and again you can click somewhere to deselect. Now if you wanted to select an entire column or an entire row, of course you can click just the header of one or the header for the other and there's a little shortcut for that. If you press Ctrl+Spacebar, you can select an entire column. If you press Shift+Spacebar that will select an entire row. Now what if we wanted to select this whole data area? Now this data area, this begins at row 5 ends at row 28, and ends at column G.
This is what's called a current region in Excel terminology. Click anywhere in this current region and to select all the cells in this region, press Ctrl+A and that selects all the cells in that current region. But what happens once your current region is selected and you press Ctrl+A again, that selects the entire sheet. So if you want to select all 16.7 million cells in the worksheet and the current cell is cell there that's surrounded by other cells, just press Ctrl+A twice. Well, what if you have the cell out here that selected that's surrounded by empty cells, then you only have to press Ctrl+A once.
Now there is another technique. Over here in the upper left corner where the columns and rows meet is this little gray box. Click that and that always selects all of the cells in the worksheet, not just current area. And again, why would you want to do that? Well maybe you want to change the font. Now I'll click the font selection here, and I'll choose something else. Now I've changed the font of all of the cells including cells that I haven't typed in yet. So as long as you know how to select and how to move around in the worksheet, you're going to find that you're doing Excel much faster.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.