You want to select more than a single cell at one time; for example, so you can set the format of a group of cells at once rather than individually.
The easiest way to select a contiguous group of cells is to click and drag with the mouse. Specifically, press the left mouse button to select a cell at one corner of the group and then hold down the mouse button while dragging to an opposite corner of the group of cells. The whole block of cells will be selected. You can click and drag to select a column of cells, a row of cells, or a block of cells, as described here.
As with most things in Excel, there are number of alternative methods for selecting a group of cells. Clicking and dragging with the mouse is probably the most common way, but you can also perform the same operation using the keyboard. With a cell selected, hold down the Shift key and press one of the arrow keys to select a range of cells.
You can also use the Shift key in conjunction with the mouse. For example, select a cell and then hold down the Shift key and select another cell. This selects the range of cells between the two corner cells.
If you want to select a group of cells that are not contiguous, you can do so by clicking each desired cell while holding down the Ctrl key.
To select all of the cells in the spreadsheet, click the small rectangle in the grid heading bar just above the first row heading and to the left of the first column heading. This is called the Select All button (the Select All shortcut is Ctrl-A ).
To select an entire row, click the row heading. Likewise, to select an entire column, click the column heading. You can use the Shift and Control keys to select groups of rows or columns from their headings, analagously to how you select groups of cells.
When a group of cells is selected, all of the selected cells are highlighted as shown in Figure 1-8.
The selection methods described here are fairly common selection tasks that I use all the time. In some cases, even more control over selection is required. In this case, Excel has a feature that allows you to select cells based on some specific criterion (for example, cells that contain text or cells that contain numbers).
Press Ctrl-G or select Edit images/U2192.jpg border=0> Go To... from the main menu bar to open up the Go To dialog box. Then press the button labeled Special to open the Go To Special dialog box, as shown in Figure 1-9.
Figure 1-8. Group of selected cells
The Go To Special dialog box allows you to select or go to cells that correspond to the selected criterion. For the text selected in Figure 1-8, I selected the Constants criterion, which enabled the checkboxes below Formulas, at which point I made sure only Text was checked. You can do the same with numbers; for example, this is a convenient way to select all cells that contain only numbers, so that in a single shot you can change the number of decimal places shown for all numeric cells.
To learn more about selecting cells, do a search in Excel Help using the phrase "selecting cells." In your search results, click the topic "Select data or cells in a worksheet."
To learn more about using the Go To and Go To Special feature, do a search in Excel Help using the phrase "Go To." In your search results, click the topic entitled "Use the Go To command to find special cells."
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