Make the SHIFT with Excel

Get a productivity lift with Shift

Using the SHIFT key in Excel can speed up range selection and make other tasks easier. Some of these tips will also work in Word and PowerPoint.

SHIFT  +  mouse

Try this. Click a cell then hold the SHIFT key down and click another cell.  Then whilst still holding the SHIFT key down click another cell. The first cell acts as an anchor and the next cell you click sets the other end of the range that Excel selects.

This technique allows you to extent existing selected ranges. If you select a range and think “oops” I needed an extra row. Just hold down the SHIFT key and change the selection. You can also select long ranges by clicking the first cell and the using the scroll bar on the left to scroll down. Then hold the SHIFT key and click the last cell. This saves the hassle of moving down with the mouse which can sometimes be hard to stop at the right spot if it’s scrolling quickly.

SHIFT + arrow keys

Try this. Select a cell. Hold the SHIFT key down and use the arrow keys to move around. Notice the range you are selecting. Keep holding the SHIFT key and press the Page Down button a few times. This is another quick way to select long ranges. Use Page Down to move down in large jumps and then use the arrow keys to get the exact range you want.

SHIFT + Space bar

This selects the current row or rows depending on what you have selected before you press it. (CTRL + Space bar selects the current column or columns)

SHIFT + Home

Selects all the cells between the current selection and column A.

SHIFT + Drawing lines

If you’ve ever tried to draw a perfectly horizontal or perfectly vertical line in Excel you may have been frustrated. The fact that there are gridlines makes it obvious that the lines AREN’T perfect. If you hold the SHIFT key whilst drawing lines you will find Excel does the perfect bit for you. SHIFT also works if you are “spinning” shapes – it automatically jumps to horizontal, 45% and vertical.

SHIFT  + Drawing shapes

Every wanted to draw a perfect square or a perfect circle? Just hold the SHIFT key whilst drawing the shape and Excel will make it perfect.

SHIFT + sheet selection

If you want to select a number of consecutive sheets at once eg to print them. Click the first sheet and then hold the SHIFT key down and click the last sheet you want to select. Clicking Print will then print all sheets in sequence. WARNING – be VERY careful when you have more than one sheet selected – when you edit one sheet you are doing the same thing to ALL the sheets, so make sure you either right click the sheets and choose Ungroup or click another sheet to de-select the other sheets.


Creates or edits a cell comment.


Adds a new Sheet.

Shift + Edit menu (Excel 2003)

There is a feature that allows you to paste the picture of a range – even create a dynamic link between a range and a picture. The only problem is that after you have copied the range you need to hold the Shift key down and then click the Edit menu to see the Paste Picture options.

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