Tech Tips Home
The Best Tech Tips And Daily Deals
Newsletter On The Internet!

WorldStart Tech Tip And Store Search
Email: Password: Login Remember Me

Like what you see here? Subscribe to the Tech Tips newsletter!   Email: Subscribe

Expanding Cell Selections the Easy Way

Thursday, September 10th, 2009 by | Filed Under: MS Excel

When I select a range of cells in MS Excel, whether I use the mouse or keyboard, it’s not uncommon for me to discover that I’ve not quite got it all.

Many times that’s not a big deal since I know enough to hold down the Shift key and keep expanding in the direction I was already going.

But what if you’ve realized that the missing cells are back where you’re selection began instead of where it ended.

Have you tried to expand that?

If you use the mouse to try and expand you’ll find that the selection starts to flip around the first cell you selected when you started. (It’s the cell that is in the selection rectangle but not shaded.)


If you use the keyboard (with the Shift key) you’ll find that you’re collapsing the selection area… moving back towards the first cell selected.

So now what?

Start over?

Lots of people do but believe it or not, it’s not necessary.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but cell range selection always moves away and toward the first cell selected.

So… if we could change the designated “first cell” then we should be able to change the direction that selection expansion occurs.

Simple enough, if you know how to change that “first cell” designation and, fortunately, I do which means now you do too!

Ctrl + . (hit the key for the period)

Yep – it’s really that easy. If you continue to hit Ctrl + . then you’ll notice that the unshaded cell will rotate around the four corners of the currently selected cell range.


Basically, move the unshaded cell to the corner opposite of where you wish to expand (or collapse for that matter).

Once it’s moved hold down the Shift key and use either the mouse or keyboard to move the selection area to where you actually need it.

~ April

Leave a Reply

Like these tips? Get them for FREE in your email!

WorldStart's Tech Tips Newsletter

  • Tech Tips Daily - Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

  • Tech Tips Weekly - If you don't want our Tech Tips newsletter every day, then sign up for this weekly newsletter to get the best information of the week. Sent on Fridays.

Other Newsletters

  • WorldStart's Daily Deals - Every week, we send out great deals in our Daily Deals newsletter. Many of these deals are exclusively for our Daily Deals newsletter subscribers and can't be found with our regular specials.

  • Just For Grins - Each issue includes a couple clean jokes, some funny quotes, and a hilarious reader's story. Newsletter is sent five days a week.

Enter Email Address:


Your e-mail address is safe with us!
We only use it to send you the newsletters you request. It is NEVER disclosed to a third party for any reason, ever! Plus, if you decided you don't like our newsletters (don't worry, you'll love them), unsubscribing is fast and easy.

Free Newsletter Signup

Tech Tips Daily

Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

Tech Tips Weekly

The week's best in tech and computer help. Get your issue sent to your email every Friday!

WorldStart's Daily Deals

The very best deals on the Internet! Get a new set of incredible sales every day of the week!

Just For Grins

Clean jokes, funny quotes, and hilarious comics. Sent 5 times a week straight to your email.


Love Worldstart? Refer A Friend!

WorldStart's Premium Membership

Tip Archive