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Go To Special in Excel

Thursday, March 25th, 2010 by | Filed Under: MS Excel

Have you ever looked at an MS Excel worksheet and wondered how long it was going to take you to select only those cells that contain text or formulas or numbers or those cells that have errors?

Plus, while you’re wondering that, you’re just dreading the old Ctrl key + click, click and click some more on all cells that meet the criteria.

Maybe you’re trying to protect the text of the file and need all those cells selected or maybe you’re looking to format all the numbers differently. Whatever your situation, you need to select only the cells containing a specific type of information and you need a quick way to select them all at once.

Seems like a perfectly reasonable request to me, so let’s take a look at a way to get the job done efficiently!

You obviously need to have the file open and be on the worksheet with which you’re looking to search. Have only one cell selected as well. If you have several highlighted, it will only search through the highlighted cells and not the whole worksheet.

Now, open the Go To feature (Edit menu / Go To choice -or- Home tab of the Ribbon / Find & Select button / Go To choice -or- Ctrl + G or the F5 key).

When the Go To dialog box opens, you’re looking for the Special button.


When the Go To Special dialog box opens, you’re looking to select Constants. (If you’re only trying to find formulas, select that choice and follow the same steps as below).


When you select “Constants,” you’ll notice that the choices just below the Formulas choice become active.

You need to leave only the type of data you’re looking to highlight still checked.

So, if you’re looking to highlight only text, unselect everything, but the text option.

When you’ve made your selection, click the OK button.


You’re returned to the worksheet with all the cells highlighted that contain your requested data type.

Here’s a bonus for my Excel 2007 users: You can go directly to the Go To Special dialog box from the Home tab via the Find & Select button… just choose Go To Special from the list instead of Go To.


So, say bye bye to the old Ctrl + click, click, click.

You gotta love the efficiency!


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