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. ...

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What is five less than 7?

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.


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