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Excel Range Highlighting Shortcut

Have you ever found yourself playing the highlighting game in MS Excel? You know, you’re trying to highlight a certain area with your mouse, but instead, you find the file flying by, creating incredibly huge highlighted areas.

Now, many of you may know a lot of keyboard tricks for highlighting using the Shift key combined with the arrows, Page Up, Page Down, Home and End keys.

Those are all great tricks, but let’s add one more to your Excel key combination list, shall we?

Have you ever tried Ctrl + Shift + 8? (Actually, you’re using the asterisk * key, which is the Shift of the 8).

It’s an awesome little trick.

What it does is highlight the entire range of cells that you are currently in. (Range being the group of cells around the one you currently have selected, stopping wherever there is an unused cell).

This can be a great time saver. Think about it. You can instantly highlight entire columns of continuous data, including the column title, but not all the empty cells at the bottom, with just one key combination.

I should add here that it does highlight several columns of data that are together.

So, the next logical question is, “How do I use this when I only want one column”?

I did some playing around and found that I could alter the highlighted range easily by holding down the Shift key and then using the other keys we’re already familiar with (arrows, Page Up, Page Down, Home, End, etc).

Be creative. Combine the techniques to get where you need to be!