Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 Noncontiguous Ranges with the Keyboard.

Selecting Noncontiguous Ranges with the Keyboard

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 6, 2014)

8

Most people know that you can select a noncontiguous range of cells by using the mouse. All you need to do is click the first cell in the range and then hold down the Ctrl key as you click other cells in the range. (This is often referred to as creating a selection set of cells.)

Some folks don't like using the mouse that much. If you are in that camp, you may wonder if there is a way to select a noncontiguous range simply by using the keyboard. Fortunately there is, but very few folks know about it. Provided that you know the addresses of the cells you want in the range, follow these steps:

  1. Press F5 or Ctrl+G. Excel displays the Go To dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Go To dialog box.

  3. In the Reference box at the bottom of the dialog box, type the address of the first cell or range you want selected.
  4. Type a comma, followed by an additional range.
  5. Repeat step 3 for each additional cell or range you want in the selection set.
  6. Click OK (or press Enter). Excel selects all the cells and ranges you entered in the Reference box.

As an example, if you wanted your noncontiguous range to include cells A7, B2, F14 through G22, and T18, you would enter the following into the Reference box:

A7,B2,F14:G22,T18

Clicking OK then selects all these cells. In addition, the last cell that you entered is the "active cell" in the selected range.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10919) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Selecting Noncontiguous Ranges with the Keyboard.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Understanding the VLOOKUP Function

Functions are at the heart of Excel's power in working with data. One of the most misunderstood functions provided by ...

Discover More

Opening a Word Document when Starting the Computer

Some people use their computers for little else, other than to work on Word documents. If that is the case with you, then ...

Discover More

Watermarks in Excel

Excel is great at printing numbers on a piece of paper, but terrible at printing watermarks. This is apparently by ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Sequentially Inputting Information

When entering data in a worksheet, you may only want to add information to the cells in a particular range. You can ...

Discover More

Using Slashed Zeroes

To reduce the chances of confusion in presenting data, some people like to use zeroes with slashes through them. If you ...

Discover More

Removing Cells from a Selected Range

Select a large range of cells and you may later want to remove a few cells from that selection. This is not as easy as ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 9?

2015-01-12 09:02:22

Rich Williams

Another way:

Select cell(s),
hit shift+F8,
move cursor to new area
hold shift+arrow keys


2014-12-08 10:05:49

Charley

@ Geoffrey: Way over 50; have known what "noncontiguous" meant for quite some time. Also know what "nonadjacent" means . . . :-)


2014-12-07 10:31:56

awyatt

Geoffrey: Another synonym is "nonadjacent." However, the terms "contiguous" and "noncontiguous" were decided upon decades ago by common usage.

English is a funny language.

-Allen


2014-12-07 10:30:40

awyatt

AMC: That works when using the mouse (as partially mentioned in the first paragraph), but this tip is about using the keyboard only, without using the mouse.

-Allen


2014-12-07 06:54:35

AMC

Just hold down your CTRL key as you select the cells. Holding CTRL gives you noncontiguous selections; SHIFT gives you contiguous selections.


2014-12-07 05:26:05

Geoffrey Lane

Why do computer help sources always have to use words like noncontiguous when a simple, not touching will do?

Over 50's find this very hard to understand.


2014-12-06 11:25:20

Peter

That should have been the range A2:A7,F2:F7


2014-12-06 11:11:51

Peter Atherton

That is interesting. Note also that A2:A7,F2:F2 leaves F2 as the active cell.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.