Excel 2019

Cell and Range

A cell is a single element in a worksheet that can hold a value, some text, or a formula. A cell is identified by its address (also called cell reference), which consists of its column letter and row number (columns are represented by letters and rows are represented by numbers). A combination of a column letter and a row number gives each cell a unique address. The first cell in a worksheet would have an address of A1. A cell that is at the intersection of column D and row 9 would have a cell address of D9 ( fourth column and the ninth row).



A range is a collection of one or more cells that you work with as a group rather than separately. This enables you to fill the range with values, move or copy the range, sort the range data, and insert and delete ranges.

There are three range (or reference) operators:

  • Colon : (the range operator)
    Specifies a range. Produces one reference to all the cells between two references. For example, A1:B3 includes cells A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, and B3.
    using range operator

  • Comma , (the union operator)
    Specifies the union of multiple cells or ranges. This operator combines multiple range or cell references into one reference. For example, A1:B3,C3 includes cells A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3 and C3.
    using union operator

  • Single space (the intersection operator)
    Specifies the intersection of multiple cells or ranges. This operator produces one reference to cells that are common to two (or more) references. For example, the reference A1:B3 B1:C3 references cells B1, B2, and B3. You can use more than one reference operator in a single formula.
    using intersection operator

Note: When you select a range, it appears highlighted, but the active cell within the range is not highlighted.

How to select a range

You can select a range in several ways:

  • Using left mouse button: Click the left mouse button and drag, highlighting the range. Then release the mouse button.

  • Using keyboard Shift Key: Press and hold the shift key while use the arrows keys to select a range.

  • Using keyboard F8 Key: Press F8 key and then use the arrow keys to highlight the range. Press Escape key (or F8 key again) to return to normal movement.

  • Using Name Box: Write the cell or range address into the Name box and press Enter. Excel selects the cell or range that you specified.

  • Using Go To Dialog Box: Enter a cell address or range in the Go To dialog box and click OK, Excel will select the cells in the range that you specified. To open Go To dialog box press F5 or click Find & Select from the Home tab and click Go To (Home > Find & Select > Go To).
    Go To Menu

How to select non-contiguous multiple ranges

To select multiple ranges:
Multiple Ranges

  • Using Ctrl Key and Mouse: Select a range then press and hold Ctrl to select another range, click and drag the mouse (or arrow keys) to highlight additional cells or ranges.

  • Using Shift+F8 Keys: Select a range then press Shift+F8 to select another range.

  • Using Name Box: Enter the range address in the Name box and press Enter. Separate each range address with a comma.

  • Using Go To Dialog Box: Enter the range address in the Reference box, and separate each range address with a comma. Click OK, and Excel selects the ranges.