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Weird Mouse Shortcut

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: Weird Mouse Shortcut.

There's an interesting little shortcut you can use to navigate around your worksheet, if you like to use the mouse quite a bit. When you select a cell, Excel places a bold outline around that cell. If you double-click on one of the borders of the cell, Excel moves the cell selection in the direction indicated by the border you double-clicked.

That may sound confusing, but try this to get an idea of how this shortcut operates:

  1. Select a cell in the middle of a data table in a worksheet.
  2. Double-click the bottom border of the selected cell. (Don't double-click the fill handle; make sure you only double-click on the border.)

That's it. Did you notice that Excel selected the last cell in the column that has anything in it? The same thing happens if you click on the other sides of selection border: double-click the left side to jump left, the top side to jump up, and the right side to jump right.

You may be tempted to think that double-clicking the selection border is the same as holding down the Ctrl key as you press one of the directional arrows on the keyboard. If the cell you originally have selected is within a data table, then the two approaches (mouse and keyboard) do have the same effect. If the original cell is outside of a data table, however, then the effect is not the same.

For instance, select an unused cell to the right of your data table. There should be several empty columns between the cell you select and the edge of the data table. If you hold down the Ctrl key as you press the Left Arrow, then Excel selects the next cell in that row, to the left, that has something in it. In other words, it selects the cell that is at the right edge of your data table in that row.

If, instead, you double-click the left selection border for the cell, then the first occupied cell is not selected. Instead, Excel selects the cell just to the right of the first occupied cell. In other words, it selects the last empty cell before the edge of the data table in that row.

Spend some time playing around with this method of navigation. You may be surprised by how Excel moves the cell selection.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2453) 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: Weird Mouse Shortcut.

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