Weekly Computer Tip # 245
3 October 2008

select cells using your keyboard
(Excel 97-2007)

OK. I know this doesn't deserve to be called a "weekly tip" anymore as it's been almost a month since I did the last one. Sorry! My excuse? I've been on holiday and when I got back other things (such as work! ;-) took over, but I promise I'll make an effort to stick to my weekly quest to try and help you make the most of your time while using your computer.

Today's tip is about Excel. Or to be specific, it's about quicker ways to select cells. As you know, when you enter data into a cell or if you want to change a cell's contents, you must first select the cell by moving the cell pointer to it. This can be done with either a mouse or the keyboard. Well, if you've been to one of my training sessions or if you've been one of my astute tip readers you probably guess I'm all in favour of using your keyboard.

Here's how:

To move the cell pointer press:

  1. Down one cell : [DOWN ARROW]
  2. Up one cell : [UP ARROW]
  3. Right one cell : [RIGHT ARROW] or [TAB]
  4. Left one cell : [LEFT ARROW] or [SHIFT] + [TAB]
  5. Down one screen : [PG DN]
  6. Up one screen : [PG UP]
  7. Next worksheet : [CTRL] [PG DN]
  8. Previous worksheet : [CTRL] [PG UP]
  9. To the beginning of the current row : [HOME]
  10. To the first cell in the worksheet (A1) : [CTRL] + [HOME]
  11. To the last column of the last occupied row (bottom-right edge of your data) : [CTRL] + [END]
  12. To the next nonblank cell in the same column or row as the active cell : [CTRL] + [UP or DOWN ARROW]. If you keep pressing the UP or DOWN arrow key it jumps to the very last cell of the row or column as soon as it found the last nonblank cell.

That last one is with special thanks to Vanessa Bysouth of the Royal Vet School in Hawkshead (thanks, Vanessa!) as it was a question of one of the other course participants and I didn't know the answer. (But she did!) Oh, and it sounds a lot more complicated than it is. Just try it out!