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.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 8, 2020)
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:
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.
Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!
Need to select an entire row? Here are two really easy ways to make the selection.Discover More
Excel lets you specify how it should behave when you press Enter. If you change this behavior, Excel assumes you want it ...Discover More
Have you ever pressed the Tab key, expecting to move to the next cell in your worksheet, only to have Excel completely ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.