Excel Tips - Data Selection with Shortcut Keys

Save Time on Data Analysis Using These Easy Shortcuts

Most people find it easy to select data in Excel by clicking and dragging the mouse. However, I have found that a lot of people have no idea about how to select non-adjacent rows or columns of data. Still others are unaware of the shortcut keys that can make data selection easier than the click-and-drag method. Surprisingly, these shortcuts are not new. They are available in Excel 2013-2021, Office 365.

Selecting Non-Adjacent Rows or Columns of Data

Selecting non-adjacent rows or columns is easy.

  1. Select the first rows/columns of data.
  2. Hold down the CTRL key and select the second set of rows/columns.

use the ctrl key to select non-adjacent rows/columns

On a MAC, use the Command key instead of the Ctrl key.

Excel Shortcut Key to Select a Whole Data Set

Sometimes it will be easier to use Excel Shortcut Keys for data selection. We could use the click-and-drag method on the data below, but if there were thousands of rows, it could take a long time. Instead we could click on any cell and use Ctrl- A to select all of the data (up to the next blank row and column).

use ctrl- A to select a data set

On a PC


On a MAC


Extend Data Selection Right, Left, Up or Down

Starting in cell A1, you can use Ctrl-Shift-Right Arrow to select to the right. Or you can use Ctrl-Shift-Down Arrow to select downward.

data analysis short cut to select data
use arrow keys to select data sets in Excel

On a MAC

command shift arrow to select region

You can use Ctrl-Shift-Right Arrow followed by Ctrl-Shift-Down Arrow to select to everything. This is the same as Ctrl-A.

shortcut keys work in Excel 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Office 365

Ctrl-Shift + Up Arrow and Left Arrow work the same way.

Get the Idea?

There's a lot of ways to speed up data selection in Excel using shortcut keys. Find out which ones work best for you.

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