How do you select a large amount of data in Excel?

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How do you select a large amount of data in Excel?

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A quick Excel keyboard trick for selecting large ranges

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by Susan Harkins in Software on June 11, 2012, 3:53 AM PDT

A quick Excel keyboard trick for selecting large ranges

You'll want to add this quick selection trick to your repertoire. It's handy when the range isn't a complete data range or it comprises more than one data range.

You probably know about the [F5] key  pressing [F5] opens the Go To dialog. You enter a range name or a cell reference, click OK, and Excel selects a range or cell, accordingly. Its a quick and easy way to get from one spot to another. What you might not know is that you can use this feature to select a range, where no range exists. Excel uses the current cell as the top-left anchor cell and you enter the bottom-right anchor cell (or vice versa). Excel will select everything in between, including the two anchor cells. The trick is to hold down the [Shift] key.


Lets work through a simple example. You can use any sheet, even a blank one, but well use this technique to select a small data range. Specifically, to use [F5] select A5:C21, do the following:

  1. Select A5.
  2. Press [F5].
  3. Enter C21 in the Reference field, but dont click OK yet.
  4. Press and hold the [Shift] key.
  5. While holding down [Shift], click OK.

That certainly was easy! I purposely chose a subset because theres an easier way to select an entire data range: simply press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+8.

This [F5] key trickcomes in handy when you want to select a subset of a larger range, or even an area that comprises more than one data range. In addition, in a small range, a quick drag might be quicker, but you wont always be working with a small range thats visible on screen. Its just one more selection technique to have in your bag of tricks.

There are many ways to approach most selection tasks. Feel free to share your favorites!Susan HarkinsPublished: June 11, 2012, 3:53 AM PDT Modified: June 11, 2012, 3:53 AM PDT  See more Software

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