Tip of the week # 525
24 October 2017

Select rows and columns in a table (Microsoft Excel) *

Since Excel 2007 you can quickly turn a range of cells into something resembling stock listing paper that mainframe computers used to print out. (Remember those faint green horizontal lines?) It will also switch on the filtering functionality, making it easy to summarise and analyse your data. It used to be called a list, but it is nowadays known as a table. Hence the fact that both CTRL + L and CTRL + T work to quickly create a table. (See tip_429.php.)

An Excel table can be thought of as a database. With it, you can store large (or small!) amounts of information and organise it anyway you wish. You can also use its powerful Table Tools to quickly retrieve data and manipulate it in numerous ways.

A table typically contains of rows and columns, which you can obviously select just like you would select them in a worksheet. But if you want to select the data only - for example, in order to copy and paste it - you can use some simple keyboard shortcuts.

Here's how:

  1. Select the entire table, including the table headers: press CTRL + A twice.
  2. Select the data in a row, not the entire row: click the first cell in the table row and press CTRL + SHIFT + RIGHT ARROW.
  3. Select the data in a column (not the entire column): click the first cell in the table column and press CTRL + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW. (Or click anywhere in the table column and press CTRL + SPACEBAR.)

Related tips:

  1. Tip 429: Quickly format and enable filtering of your data (tip_429.php)
  2. Tip 143: Quickly move to the end of a range of cells in a row or column (tip_143.html)

* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.