Select Non-Adjacent Cells in Excel With Keyboard and Mouse

Select Non-adjacent Cells with Keyboard and Mouse in Excel
Select Non-adjacent Cells with Keyboard and Mouse.

By selecting multiple cells in Excel you can delete data, apply formatting such as borders or shading, or apply other options to large areas of a worksheet all at one time.

While dragging with the mouse to quickly highlight a block of adjacent cells is probably the most common way of selecting more than one cell, there are times when the cells you want to highlight are not located beside each other.

When this occurs, it is possible to select non-adjacent cells. Although selecting non-adjacent cells can be done solely with the keyboard as shown below, it is easier to do using the keyboard and mouse together.

Selecting Non-Adjacent Cells in Excel With Keyboard and Mouse

  1. Click on the first cell you want to select with the mouse pointer to make it the active cell.
  2. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard.
  3. Click on the rest of the cells you want to select them without releasing the Ctrl key.
  4. Once all the desired cells are selected, release the Ctrl key.
  5. Do not click anywhere else with the mouse pointer once you release the Ctrl key or you will clear the highlight from the selected cells.
  6. If you release the Ctrl key too soon and wish to highlight more cells, simply press and hold down the Ctrl key again and then click on the additional cell(s)

Select Non-Adjacent Cells in Excel Using Just the Keyboard

The steps below cover selecting cells using just the keyboard.

Using the Keyboard in Extended Mode

To select non-adjacent cells with just the keyboard requires you to use the keyboard in Extended Mode.

Extended mode is activated by pressing the F8 key on the keyboard. You can shut off extended mode by pressing the Shift and F8 keys on the keyboard together.

Select Single Non-Adjacent Cells in Excel Using the Keyboard

  1. Move the cell cursor to the first cell you want to select.
  1. Press and release the F8 key on the keyboard to start Extended Mode and to highlight the first cell.
  2. Without moving the cell cursor, press and release the Shift + F8 keys on the keyboard together to shut off extended mode.
  3. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move the cell cursor to the next cell you wish to highlight.
  4. The first cell should remain highlighted.
  5. With the cell cursor on the next cell to be highlighted, repeat steps 2 and 3 above.
  6. Continue to add cells to the highlighted range by using the F8 and Shift + F8 keys to start and stop extended mode.

Selecting Adjacent and Non-Adjacent Cells in Excel Using the Keyboard

Follow the steps below if the range you wish to select contains a mixture of adjacent and individual cells as shown in the image above.

  1. Move the cell cursor to the first cell in the group of cells you want to highlight.
  2. Press and release the F8 key on the keyboard to start Extended Mode.
  3. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to extend the highlighted range to include all cells in the group.
  4. With all cells in the group selected press and release the Shift + F8 keys on the keyboard together to shut off extended mode.
  5. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move the cell cursor away from the selected group of cells.
  1. The first group of cells should remain highlighted.
  2. If there are more grouped cells you wish to highlight, move to the first cell in the group and repeat steps 2 to 4 above.
  3. If there are individual cells that you wish to add to the highlighted range, use the first set of instructions above for highlighting single cells.
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