Select non-adjacent cells in Excel with keyboard and mouse

Dragging in Excel to quickly select a block of adjacent cells is probably the most common way to select multiple cells in a worksheet. But it may happen that the cells you want to highlight are not next to each other.

When this happens, non-adjacent cells can be selected. While selecting non-adjacent cells can only be done with the keyboard, it’s easier to do it when you use the keyboard and mouse together.

The information in this article applies to versions of Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and Excel for Mac.

Select non-adjacent cells with keyboard and mouse

  1. Use the mouse to click on the first one cell you want to mark. This cell becomes an active cell.

  2. Press and hold a key ctrl on keyboard.

  3. Press other cells you want to mark.

  4. When the desired cells are highlighted, release the key ctrl

  5. Do not press anywhere else on the mouse pointer once you release the key ctrl otherwise, clear the selected cells.

  6. When you release the button ctrl too early and want to mark more cells, press and hold the key again ctrl and click on more cells.

Use only keyboard to select non-adjacent cells

The steps below are about selecting cells using only the keyboard.

Use the keyboard in advanced mode

To select non-adjacent cells using only the keyboard, you must use the keyboard in Advanced mode. Advanced mode is activated by pressing the key. to push F8 on keyboard. You can turn off the advanced mode by pressing the keys at the same time Shift and F8 on keyboard.

Select individual non-adjacent cells

  1. Movement cursor to cell to the first cell you want to select.

  2. Press and release the button F8 on the keyboard to start advanced mode and highlight the first cell.

  3. Without moving the cell cursor, simultaneously press and release the keys Shift F8 on the keyboard to turn off the advanced mode.

  4. Use arrow keys on the keyboard to move the cursor to the next cell you want to highlight. The first cell remains selected.

  5. By placing the cursor on the next cell to be highlighted, repeat steps 2 and 3 above.

  6. Continue adding cells to the selected range using the keys F8 and Shift F8 to start and stop the advanced mode.

Select Adjacent and Nonadjacent Cells

Follow these steps if the range you want to select contains a combination of adjacent and single cells.

  1. Movement cursor to cell to the first cell in the group of cells you want to select.

  2. Press and release the button F8 on the keyboard to execute Advanced Mode

  3. Use arrow keys on the keyboard to expand the selected range to include all cells in the group.

  4. With all cells in the group selected, press and release the keys Shift F8 to turn off the advanced mode.

  5. Use arrow keys on the keyboard to move the cell cursor away from the selected group of cells. The first group of cells remains selected.

  6. To highlight more grouped cells, go to the first cell in the group and repeat steps 2-4 above.

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