Excel Tips: Select an Entire Row or Column

Lesson 8: Select an Entire Row or Column


Select an entire row or column

You may sometimes need to select an entire row or column at once.  If you need to add formatting to your spreadsheet, add or delete rows, or complete other tasks in Excel, these shortcuts could save you a lot of time.

Check out the video below to learn more. 


  1. To select an entire row, you can click the row number on the far left side. Your other option is to use the shortcut. Press Shift + the spacebar on your keyboard–so long as you’re in one of the cells in the row you’re selecting. 
  2. Selecting an entire column is similar. You might be used to clicking the column letter at the top of the sheet. But the shortcut works here, too: press Ctrl + the spacebar. (So Ctrl rather than Shift, which highlights the row). 
  3. To select multiple rows or columns, click and drag over several row numbers or column letters. Then you can do things like change the formatting for the highlighted cells. Try it out by clicking one of the buttons on the Ribbon.
  4. Keep in mind that if you apply formatting to an entire column or row (rather than just a handful of selected cells), then the formatting will affect the empty cells, too. In other words, when you put numbers in the empty cells later on, they will follow the formatting you selected for that specific column or row.

Hopefully these keyboard shortcuts will help you keep your formatting consistent as you work on your spreadsheet. In Lesson 9, we’ll take a look at how to find a sum without using a formula.