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Selecting Noncontiguous Ranges with the Keyboard

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Selecting Noncontiguous Ranges with the Keyboard.

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. 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:


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 (2401) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Selecting Noncontiguous Ranges with the Keyboard.

Related Tips:

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