The Excel Skinny

A blog about Excel and its users

Selecting multiple cells with the Mouse in Microsoft Excel for Mac can be an inaccurate and messy affair.  Thankfully, with the help of the Excel Skin, we don’t have to use the mouse. We can keep our hands on the keyboard and select our cells with accuracy using the Shift and arrow keys.  

Here is our data: 

I’d like to select George, Anna, Brian, and David without using my mouse at all, how do I do it?  

First scroll to one of the cells you wish to select with the arrow keys.  

Now to select the others hold the Shift key and use the arrow keys.  

⇧arrow

I am going to click the down arrow once to select Anna, then the right arrow once to select Brian and David:

And there you have it!  I’ve selected the 4 cells I wanted to accurately and without using the mouse. After all, you can never have enough keyboard!  

This is a neat shortcut I learned the other day that can save you a quick second or two by not having to move back to your mouse.  As we all now, the mouse is the enemy and our goal is to avoid it as much as possible. It is the main thing that slows us down and the main reason shortcuts exist!

The shortcut we are going to review today performs a very simple task – when multiple cells are selected it reverts back to the original active cell.  In other words if you have several cells selected it will select the original cell you clicked to highlight those cells.  Let’s get started.

Step 1: You can only perform this shortcut when multiple cells are selected so naturally the first step is to select multiple cells.

 

Step 2: Now that I have my cells selected I can perform the shortcut.  This will effectively unselect every cell but the one I initially selected to highlight the rectangle above.  The shortcut is “shift” + “delete”:

 ⇧Delete

Step 3: After executing the shortcut you will have only one active cell.  

 

From here you can go ahead and select a different array of cells, or whatever else you like.  This shortcut is very simple but I find it useful when I have selected multiple cells and want to revert back to just one active cell.  It is one of the many useful shortcuts MS Excel for Mac provides to help us stay away from using the mouse.