Excel – Ranges

A range is a group of 2 or more cells selected/highlighted at the same time.

A range is named by using the name of the cell top left and the name of the cell bottom right.

E.g this would be called B2:D15

The cell name B2 showing up in the name box is the first cell I clicked on when I highlighted this range.


Ranges in one block are called a Contiguous range.

It is also possible to have non-contiguous ranges. To do this, select the first range as per normal, then click the Ctrl key and make the second selection still holding down the Ctrl key. My selection below would be written like this: B2:B16,D2:D16


non contiguous range

When a range is selected you are able to see some simple calculations based on the selection. These are in the status bar along the bottom of the Excel window.

Range calcs


Selecting/Highlighting Contiguous Ranges

This almost sounds too simple to bother reading, but do. I had been using Excel for years before I discovered these shortcuts that make selecting ranges so much simpler, especially for larger ranges.

Select a range of cells in the row/column immediately next to your active cell in any direction. This will select all cells in the row/column until it reaches an empty cell.

Select a starting cell, press and hold SHIFT, END and the arrow key in the direction you want to highlight. I have highlighted the start cell in yellow below. This will also work right to left and bottom to top.

Selecting row across

Selecting row down

To select a very large area of data the easiest way to do it is:

Select the top left hand cell that you want included then CTRL/SHIFT/END

This will highlight all the filled in cells both across and down

large data


To learn more about this and much more attend our Excel Essentials training.

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