Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Selecting Multiple Cells by Mistake.

Selecting Multiple Cells by Mistake

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 2, 2013)

4

Lester notes that sometimes when he clicks on a single cell in a worksheet, more than one cell gets selected. Only by clicking various other cells at random in another part of the worksheet does it go back to normal where only the single cell he clicked on is selected. He wonders why this is happening.

There could be any number of causes for a problem like this. First of all, when it happens you should let go of the mouse and switch to the keyboard. With the multiple cells still selected, press the Up Arrow key once and then the Down Arrow key once. If there are still multiple cells selected, it could be that the cells are actually merged. You can unmerge the cells, if desired, or simply accept that you can't select individual cells in the merged range.

If the cells are not merged, it could be that the extend mode is currently turned on. Take a look at the status bar at the bottom of the worksheet. If you see the word Extend Selection towards the left of the status bar, then extend mode is active. Press either Esc or F8 to turn off extend mode. (When Excel is in extend mode, one end of a selection is "anchored" and the selection extends from there to where you click or move next.)

If the problem still continues, it could be because of a hardware problem with the mouse. Try changing to a different mouse to see if that fixes the issue. If it doesn't, then it is also possible that it is a problem with the keyboard. If the keyboard has a sticky Shift key, then that key could be "engaged" longer than desired, resulting in a selection of a range of cells, similar to the extend mode problem mentioned earlier. If you suspect this is the cause, then you'll need to either thoroughly clean your keyboard or replace it.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7882) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Selecting Multiple Cells by Mistake.

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 7 + 8?

2015-12-07 13:15:02

Anne

As Lisa indicated - the only thing that works for me to solve this problem is changing the zoom.


2015-01-08 08:55:39

Glenn Case

You might also have a sicky SHift key on your keyboard.


2015-01-07 09:41:36

Lisa

I occasionally have this issue with Excel 2010 found a simple workaround on another site: I changed and then changed back the zoom level. For instance, my zoom level was 100%, so I changed it to 125% and then back to 100% again. Works for me.


2013-11-11 11:02:24

Jim Ogier

I too have had that happen on various occasions. When it happens it happens across all windows.

I will be working in Excel and it starts. Multiple cells will be selected. If I click on the first cell I clicked I can get only one cell displayed but as soon as I select another cell everything is selected. It even continues through all windows.

If I am in Excel and it starts it will be that way in every window I try.

The only way I have been able to get it to stop is to save everything close all windows and reboot the computer.

Jim Ogier


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