Lightning fast navigation
Still scrolling around your worksheets to find and select cells?
Here’s how to fly around the current worksheet at lighting speed.
Fast navigation using any input
Whether you prefer to use the mouse or the keyboard (or both), these speed tips will have you selecting cells fast.
Navigate quickly with the mouse
Move around the current worksheet with the mouse scroll wheel like this:
|Left||Ctrl + Shift + Scroll up|
|Right||Ctrl + Shift + Scroll down|
On a Mac, scrolling left or right needs only Shift, not Ctrl + Shift
Make scrolling easier by zooming
What if the cell you want to see is many rows or columns away?
Just zoom out first, scroll to the cell you want, then zoom back in again. You can zoom quickly using the Ctrl key and the mouse scroll wheel, like this:
|Zoom in||Ctrl + Scroll up|
|Zoom out||Ctrl + Scroll down|
On a Mac, zoom using Cmd instead of Ctrl
Traps to watch for when using Zoom
There are a couple of things to be aware of when zooming like this:
Is Zoom destructive?
No, zooming is a navigation tool. It does not change your workbook or data. However, Excel does not seem to understand this. Every time you zoom in or out, it behaves as though you have actually changed something. This means:
- Zoom is treated as an undo-able action. If you were relying on stepping forward and back through the undo history, Zooming can wreck these plans if you are not aware of this quirk.
- Zooming actions are captured in the macro recorder (which can be useful).
Focus when zooming in
Zooming with the mouse scroll wheel and the Ctrl key is a common tool in many software programs. Often, when you zoom in, the content under the mouse cursor is enlarged as the view zooms. This way, you can decide what to enlarge just by moving the mouse.
However, when Excel zooms in, it ignores the mouse cursor and zooms in toward the active cell instead.
Both are useful in different situations, but there is no toggle switch in the settings to choose between them. We’re stuck with zooming in to the active cell.
Difference between viewing and selecting cells with the mouse
All of these mouse actions change what you see in the grid view, but do not affect which cell is active or which cells are selected.
To use the mouse to quickly get to the cells you want and then select them:
- Use the above methods to bring the cells you need into view; then
- Click and drag to select the cells you want selected.
When the range you want to select is many screens worth of cells high or wide, don’t waste time dragging the mouse while the view scrolls as you select cells.
Instead, use this much faster process:
- Navigate to the cell in the top left of the range you want to select, and click once on that single cell
- Scroll to the cell in the lower right of the desired range, using only the scroll wheel or scroll bar (do not click on any cells yet!)
- Hold down the Shift key and click once on the single cell at the lower right of the desired range.
Navigate quickly with the keyboard
If you prefer to use the keyboard to see and select the cells you need, you can do this quickly too.
Use these shortcut keys to navigate around the current worksheet:
To activate the next cell in any direction (and scroll the view, if necessary), just use the corresponding arrow key (←, →, ↑ or ↓).
To scroll one whole screen in any direction and activate the corresponding cell:
|Scroll the current view up one whole screen||PageUp|
|Scroll the current view down one whole screen||PageDown|
|Scroll the current view left one whole screen||Alt + PageUp|
|Scroll the current view right one whole screen||Alt + PageDown|
Select and scroll using worksheet content
To quickly select a cell farther away in any direction, you can use the following shortcuts:
|To select and scroll to this cell||Shortcut|
|Top left visible cell in worksheet*||Ctrl + Home|
|Start of current row||Home|
|Leftmost cell in current range (if within a contiguous range of nonblank cells); or|
Next non-blank cell to the left (if at a blank cell, or at the leftmost cell of a contiguous range of nonblank cells)
|Ctrl + ←|
|Rightmost cell in current range (if within a contiguous range of nonblank cells); or|
Next non-blank cell to the right (if at a blank cell, or at the rightmost cell of a contiguous range of nonblank cells)
|Ctrl + →|
|Uppermost cell in current range (if within a contiguous range of nonblank cells); or|
Next non-blank cell above (if at a blank cell, or at the uppermost cell of a contiguous range of nonblank cells)
|Ctrl + ↑|
|Lowermost cell in current range (if within a contiguous range of nonblank cells); or|
Next non-blank cell below (if at a blank cell, or at the lowermost cell of a contiguous range of nonblank cells)
|Ctrl + ↓|
|End of current row||End|
|Lower right cell in utilized range of current worksheet||Ctrl + End|
* The scrollable section of the worksheet grid only. If you have “freeze panes” selected, the frozen cells are treated as beyond the top left cell.
Difference between viewing and selecting cells with the keyboard
All of these keyboard actions change which cell is active/selected, and scroll it into view (unless it is already on the screen).
Select a range of cells quickly with the keyboard
To quickly select a range of cells using only the keyboard:
- Use the shortcuts above to select a single cell in any corner of the desired range
- Hold down the Shift key
- While keeping Shift held, use the shortcuts above to select the whole range.
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