Highlight Cells

"Highlight Cells" Definition as used in Excel and Google Spreadsheets

Highlight Cells in Excel
Highlight Cells in Excel. © Ted French


To highlight or select cells in Excel or Google Spreadsheets is to use the mouse pointer to click on a cell or cells. It is also known as selecting data.

Uses for highlighting include:

  • adding formatting options to the cell or to the data in the cell - such as a cell border or font color change
  • including cell references when adding a formula to a worksheet
  • selecting a range of data to be used in creating a chart
  • inserting a cell or range of cells into a function's dialog box to act as an argument.

There are a number of ways to highlight cells including:

  • Selecting cells using the mouse - using click and drag for multiple adjacent cells
  • selecting adjacent cells using the Shift key and arrow keys on the keyboard
  • typing a range in the Name Box
  • typing a range name or defined name in the Name Box
  • selecting a range name from the Name Box drop down list

Highlighting Cells Shortcuts

Ctrl + A  - highlight all cells in the worksheet

Ctrl + Shift + 8  - highlight all data in a table of data

Highlighted Ranges and the Active Cell

When multiple cells are highlighted in a worksheet there is still only one active cell as seen in the image above.

This means that unless an array is created, if data is entered with multiple cells selected, the data is only entered into the active cell.

Also Known As: selecting cells