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: Different Approaches Specify Different Results
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 there are any blank rows or columns 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:
Using Your Selected Data
With all of your data selected you can:
- Copy and paste the content to a different location within the worksheet or move it to a different worksheet.
- Apply various formatting changes or clear formatting from cells.
- Modify the row height or column widths.
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.