Selecting Cells

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Selecting Cells

Introduction

Before doing anything on a cell or a group of cells, you must first select it. Selecting cells is almost equivalent to highlighting a word in a text document. Various means are available to select a cell or a group of cells. You can use the mouse only, the keyboard only, or a combination of the mouse and keyboard.

Selecting a Cell

At almost any time, at least one particular cell is selected. The selected cell has thicker borders than the other cells. That cell is referred to as the active cell. This is important because you always need to know where the changes you are making are being applied. This means that, whatever you type or format will apply to that particular cell. Sometimes you will want to work on many cells simultaneously. Therefore, you first have to select the intended cells before proceeding.

As mentioned already, you can select a cell using the mouse, the keyboard, or a combination:

  • To select a cell using the mouse, just click it. To select another cell, click the new one
  • To select a cell using the keyboard, since you may have to move focus from one active cell to another, press the arrow keys until the desired cell is selected
  • To select a cell based on its name and using the mouse and keyboard, click in the Name Box, and type the name or address of the cell
  • To select the first cell of the document using the keyboard only, press Ctrl + Home

Practical Learning: Selecting Cells

  1. To select one cell at a time, click cell B6
  2. Click cell C4
  3. Click cell E8
  4. Press the down arrow key
  5. Press the right arrow key three times
  6. Press Ctrl + Home

Selecting Cells

Instead of only one cell, you may want to perform a common operation on many cells, which means you must select them first. You can use the mouse, the keyboard, or a combination. You can select cells based on columns or based on rows. You can select cells in a particular region; that is, adjacent cells, or you can select non-adjacent cells:

  • To select all cells of a column:
    • Click the column header
       
      Selected Column
    • In the Name box, type the name of a cell of that column and press Enter. Then press Ctrl and the Space bar
  • To select all cells of a series of columns, select those columns as seen in Lesson 2 and notice that all cells in the selected columns are selected
  • To select all cells of a row:
    • Click the row header as seen in Lesson 3
    • In the Name box, type the name of a cell of that row and press Enter. Then press Shift and the Space bar
  • To select all cells of a series of rows, select those rows as seen in Lesson 3 and notice that all cells on the right side of the selected rows are highlighted
  • To select cells in the same region using the mouse only, click and hold your mouse on one cell, then drag down or up, left or right, to the last cell in the range
  • To select cells in the same region using the keyboard only, press the arrow keys a few times until the cell that will be at one corner is selected. Press and hold Shift. Press the arrow keys left, right, up, or down. If you press the right arrow key, the currently highlighted cell and the cell to its right would be selected. If you press the down arrow key, the current cell and the cell under it will be highlighted. You can also press the left or up arrow key. You can press the arrow keys many times in the direction of your choice. Once you have achieved the selection you want, release the Shift key
  • To select non-adjacent cells, click one of the cells. Press and hold Ctrl. Click each of the desired cells. Once the selection is complete, release Ctrl
  • To select all cells on a worksheet, you can press Ctrl + A. Alternatively, you can click the button at the intersection of the row header and row headers

Practical Learning: Selecting Cells

  1. To select multiple cells on the same column, click Column Header C
  2. To select multiple cells on the same row, click Row Header 15
  3. To select cells in a range, click and hold the mouse on cell B8, your mouse turns into a big + sign
  4. Drag the mouse in the right direction until 17.50 in cell F8 is selected, then release the mouse. Notice that 5 cells are selected
     
    Selected Cells in a Row
  5. Click Cell C7
  6. Press and hold Shift
  7. Then click Cell C15 and release Shift
     
    Selected Cells in a Column
  8. Click cell C7 and hold the mouse down
  9. Drag the mouse right and down to cell E11 to include it in the highlighted range
  10. Release the mouse. That selects adjacent cells in the same area
     
    Selected Cells
  11. Click Cell B6
  12. Press and hold Shift
  13. Press the down arrow key twice
  14. Press the right arrow key 4 times
  15. Release Shift
  16. Press Ctrl + Home
  17. To select cells at random, click cell D9. Press and hold Ctrl. While you are holding Ctrl, click cells B7, H12, and E15
  18. Release Ctrl
     
  19. Press Ctrl + Home
  20. To select all cells, click the button on the intersection of the row and row headers 
  21. To deselect, click cell C4
  22. Press Ctrl + Home

Lessons Conventions

Author Note From now on, unless specified otherwise, the following conventions will be used

Instruction Means
Click G5 Click cell G5
Select B2:F8 Select cells from B2 to F8, and that will include all cells in the range B2 to F8
Select cells D4, B10, A2, and H16 Select only those cells at random
Click cell F4 Using your mouse, click cell F4. On the other hand, if I write press F4, I mean using your keyboard, press function key F4. Remember that "click" refers to using the mouse and "press" refers to using the keyboard
Select row 4 Position the mouse on the row header which is the gray box where the row number is displaying, then click
Select rows 4 and 5 Use one of the methods we learned to select the row headers
Select rows 4:8 Use one of the methods we learned to select the row headers
Select row E Position the mouse on the row header which is the gray box where the row letter(s) is displaying, then click
Select rows D and F Use one of the methods we learned to select the row headers
Select rows C:H Use one of the methods we learned to select the row headers