Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Weird Mouse Shortcut.

Weird Mouse Shortcut

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 10, 2019)


There's an interesting little shortcut you can use to navigate around your worksheet, if you like to use the mouse quite a bit. When you select a cell, Excel places a bold outline around that cell. If you double-click on one of the borders of the cell, Excel moves the cell selection in the direction indicated by the border you double-clicked.

That may sound confusing, but try this to get an idea of how this shortcut operates:

  1. Select a cell in the middle of a data table in a worksheet.
  2. Double-click the bottom border of the selected cell. (Don't double-click the fill handle; make sure you only double-click on the border.)

That's it. Did you notice that Excel selected the last cell in the column that has anything in it? The same thing happens if you click on the other sides of selection border: double-click the left side to jump left, the top side to jump up, and the right side to jump right.

You may be tempted to think that double-clicking the selection border is the same as holding down the Ctrl key as you press one of the directional arrows on the keyboard. If the cell you originally have selected is within a data table, then the two approaches (mouse and keyboard) do have the same effect. If the original cell is outside of a data table, however, then the effect is not the same.

For instance, select an unused cell to the right of your data table. There should be several empty columns between the cell you select and the edge of the data table. If you hold down the Ctrl key as you press the Left Arrow, then Excel selects the next cell in that row, to the left, that has something in it. In other words, it selects the cell that is at the right edge of your data table in that row.

If, instead, you double-click the left selection border for the cell, then the first occupied cell is not selected. Instead, Excel selects the cell just to the right of the first occupied cell. In other words, it selects the last empty cell before the edge of the data table in that row.

Spend some time playing around with this method of navigation. You may be surprised by how Excel moves the cell selection.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (664) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Weird Mouse Shortcut.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 2 + 4?

2019-11-04 19:13:06


Nay, it worketh NOT like described.

Essentially, it goes to the last cell in a series of cells containing similar material, or lack thereof, but it seems to compare things to the next cell in its pathway. So if cells D1 and D2 are empty and cells D3:D10 have contents, doing this in cell D1 takes you to D2, not D10. Do it when in D2 and it takes you to D10. So in D1, it sees D2 as an empty cell while D3:D10 have contents. It goes that whole single cell and stops. From there, it looks at the next cell, D3, and finds it has contents so the next double-click goes to the end of the string of "contents" which is D10. Slightly different from Ctrl-ArrowDown, etc.

This behavior is consistent from inside AND outside a table of data. So if I15:N15 have contents, or a mix of contents and empty but N15 has contents, then all cells are empty to at least, say, W15, starting in W15 does indeed go to the last cell, going left, that matches V15's kind of material (which is "empty") ending up in cell O15, not N15. (As described above, I think... I'll give Mr. Wyatt a pass on that as one might argue my own descriptions are "obtuse" so I won't toss the word around...) But if rows 14 and 16 have content all the way to column P, the feature does NOT see the table as extending to column P and take you to Q15, it slips you into the table in O15.

It careth NOT about tables, simply rows or columns: it does NOT, as described, go to the bottom of a table ignoring blank vs. not-blank. It pays close attention to them from inside OR outside the range. Nothing above/below or left/right matters to it, only the row or column you are in.

Ctrl-ArrowKey takes you to the end of "contents, including NOT-null's" with the next cell being a true NULL, or the exact opposite. This will always put you to the end of a LOCAL string of similar material or non-material, though it is the first cell in the direction you wish to move that sets that characteristic, NOT the cell you are in when you double-click. (So when in D1, above, D2 is the cell considered for type of material, not D1. When in D2, D3 is the cell considered, not D2.)

Interesting find though. I'll have fun trying it out for anything odd about it.

(Bummer... for a moment it seemed like it would go diagonally, but I must have moved the mouse a hair the first time so it moved to the cell expected but because I fidgeted, not because it works diagonally. Cannot get it to repeat. That would have been an interesting result.)

2019-10-17 02:09:28

Gandhi, Shreepad more addition to my database of Tips received from you. Thanks for sharing. Tried that...and checked for myself...:)

2019-10-13 10:00:22

John Mann

Thank you for that interesting tip. As you sugested, I started playing around with it, especially what happens when clicking in empty space (i.e. outside a range of data). It appears that the selection will quite happily move to the top or left edges - row 1 or col A - but not to the right or bottom. I did test the far right, and that still moved left. I didn't bother checking for the bottom - I would drown at such depths.

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