Select individual or multiple cells in tables

  1. Highlight to select data entry cells or color cells.
  2. Reasons to mark cells for editing or formatting
  3. How to select spreadsheet cells
  4. Select cells with mouse
  5. Highlight cells with the keyboard
  6. Select all cells
  7. Apply highlight color

Highlight to select data entry cells or color cells.

To edit or format data in an Excel sheet or Google Sheets, first select or Highlight corresponding cells. To highlight cells with color, select the cells and apply color to the ribbon in Excel, or use the fill and stroke options in Google Sheets.

Information in this article applies to Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; Excel for Office 365; Excel Online; Excel for Mac and Google Sheets.

Reasons to mark cells for editing or formatting

There are several reasons to highlight cells in a spreadsheet. Select cells whenever you want:

  • Format the cell or the data in the cell, such as cell border or font color.

  • Include cell references when adding a formula to a worksheet.

  • Select the range of data to use to create the chart.

  • Insert a cell or range of cells into the function’s dialog box to serve as an argument.

How to select spreadsheet cells

There are several ways to select cells with the mouse or keyboard. Different ways to highlight spreadsheet cells are:

  • Select cells with mouse using method before towing.

  • Select adjacent cells using the keyboard using the “Shift” and “Arrow” keys.

  • Select the cells by entering a range in the Name field.

If multiple cells on a sheet are selected, only one cell is active. If data is entered with multiple selected cells, data is entered only in the active cell.

Select cells with mouse

If you prefer to select cells with your mouse, you have to click and drag a bit.

To use the mouse to select cells:

  1. Select one cell. This represents the selection cell at the top right.

  2. Place the mouse pointer over the center of the selected cell. The cursor changes to a white plus sign ( + ).

  3. Click and drag the mouse to extend the selection to other cells.

  4. Release the mouse button to complete the selection.

Highlight cells with the keyboard

If you prefer to highlight cells with multiple keyboard shortcuts, follow this alternative method with the arrow keys.

To use the keyboard to select cells:

  1. Select one cell.

  2. Press and hold a key Shift .

  3. Press the arrow key ( Up , down , Left or Turn right ) to expand the selection in the direction shown. ,

Select all cells

To select all cells on a sheet, click Ctrl+A (Windows) or Command+A (macOS).

Apply highlight color

To format a cell or cells with a colored background to apply a highlight effect, first select the cells with one of the methods mentioned above.

After you have made your choice:

  • In Excel, go to the tab House and in the group styles select Cell Styles to open a list of options. Choose from section Thematic Cell Styles .

  • In Google Sheets, select the icon To fill on the ribbon to apply the highlight color.

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