How do you select all the data within your worksheet?
Many users learn early on the “click + hold + drag” method for selecting a range of data using Microsoft Excel. If you have hundreds of rows of data, this method can be very tedious when needing to select all of the data within a worksheet.
Selecting the Entire Excel Worksheet
3 Different Keyboard Shortcuts to Select “All” Data within a Worksheet
A much easier method to select an entire Excel worksheet is to use the shortcut key Ctrl+A (the “A” stands for “All”). However, your selection may vary:
- When you press Ctrl+A in a worksheet, you are selecting the current range. If any blank rows or columns are separating the data, the selection area ends: Excel will not select a noncontiguous range.
- If you press Ctrl+A a second time, you’ll select your entire worksheet.
- NOTE: If your data is in a table format, you will need to press Ctrl+A a third time to select the entire worksheet.
Using Excel’s “Select All” Button to Select All Data
Yet another method for selecting all data in a spreadsheet is to click on the “select all” button at the top left corner of Excel. To the left of column A and above row 1, there is a grey half square looking button:
Leveraging Selected Data in Excel
Once you’ve selected your data using either of these methods, you can perform a variety of actions to analyze, manipulate, or manage your data:
- Copy and Paste: You can copy the selected data and paste it to another location within the same worksheet or move it to a different worksheet. This is particularly helpful when you want to perform operations on a subset of data without affecting the original data.
- Formatting: You can apply a variety of formatting changes such as font style, cell color, or border style to your selected data. Conversely, you can clear existing formatting if needed.
- Adjusting Size: You can modify the row height or column widths of the selected range to better fit your data.
Mastering these selection methods and understanding when to use each can significantly boost your productivity in Excel. It’s all about working smarter, not harder, and Excel’s range of features and shortcuts is designed to help you do just that.
Bonus Tip: Absolute References vs. Relative References
Microassist’s lead instructor, Andy Weaver, talks about absolute and relative references in this virtual class.
Additional Microsoft Excel Resources
This just scratches the surface on what you can learn in Microsoft Excel! We offer multiple courses in Excel, from beginner introductions to Excel to advanced classes, to classes on Pivot Tables and more. Check out our Course Schedule to learn more.
Additional Microsoft Excel Tips
NOTE: This post was originally published in December 2008 and has been revamped for currency and accuracy.
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