Removing Cells from a Selected Range

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 8, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Let's say that you've selected a large range of cells, such as A7:R182. You want to perform some sort of operation on all the cells in this range, except a few. You might wonder how to remove a couple of cells within the range from the selection set, so you hold down the Ctrl key as you click on those cells. That doesn't work; Excel simply unselects the range you previously selected.

There is no way to change this behavior within Excel itself. Instead, you need to turn to other solutions. One is to use a macro, such as the following:

Sub UnSelectSomeCells()
    Dim rSelect As Range
    Dim rUnSelect As Range
    Dim rNew As Range
    Dim rCell As Range

    Set rSelect = Selection
    Set rUnSelect = Application.InputBox( _
      "What cells do you want to exclude?", Type:=8)

    For Each rCell In rSelect
        If Intersect(rCell, rUnSelect) Is Nothing Then
            If rNew Is Nothing Then
                Set rNew = rCell
            Else
                Set rNew = Union(rNew, rCell)
            End If
        End If
    Next
    rNew.Select

    Set rCell = Nothing
    Set rSelect = Nothing
    Set rUnSelect = Nothing
    Set rNew = Nothing
End Sub

To use the macro, select the entire range you want to start with, such as A7:R182. Then run the macro. You are asked to choose the cells to be unselected. You can do so by simply selecting the cells with the mouse, holding down the Shift key as you click on each one. When you dismiss the input box, the selection you started with is modified to exclude the cells you selected.

If you prefer to not use your own macros, you can find help for deselecting cells in a selected range by using third-party tools, such as the ASAP Utilities. You can find their Excel tools at this Web page:

http://www.asap-utilities.com/asap-utilities-excel-tools.php

The tool applicable to this tip is the Select tool.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3102) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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