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Excel 97 - Selecting Cells


You can select several cells at once by holding down either the Shift or Ctrl key while you click the mouse. When you select more than one adjacent cell, you are selecting a range of cells. To select several non-adjacent cells, you simple click the first cell, hold down CTRL, and click the next cell that you want.


Multiple cells Click the first cell in the range. Hold down Shift and click last cell in the range.
Non Adjacent Cells Click on first cell to activate it, then hold down Ctrl, and click the next cell to select only those two cells.
Entire Row Click on a row number
Entire Column Click on column’s letter heading
Range of Cells Click and Drag mouse to highlight
Entire Worksheet Click on empty cell in top left corner above Row 1, and to the left of Column A



Non Adjacent Rows Click on row number, hold down Ctrl, and click on a different row number.
Non Adjacent Columns Click on Column letter, hold down Ctrl, and click on different column letter.
Keyboard – select entire row With a cell active in the row, press Shift + spacebar.
Keyboard – select entire column With a cell active in the column, press Ctrl + spacebar.
Keyboard – entire worksheet Ctrl + Shift + Spacebar


To extend selections in any direction, hold down the SHIFT key and press the appropriate arrow key.

Saving the Workbook Save the file with the name "Jan-March 1997 Inventory" by selecting FILE, SAVE, and typing the file name. Type up to 255 characters in a file name. Press Enter or select OK.

File, Save

FILE, SAVE is used the first time you save the file, and anytime you want to save all the changes you are making.

The Ctrl+S keyboard shortcut is a convenient way to save without visiting the File menu.

File, Save As

FILE, SAVE AS is used when you want to save the existing file, but with a different name or file TYPE.

To change the file Type, click the icon after Save As Type: to see the different types. These include Lotus, dBase, MS-DOS text, Quattro Pro, Excel 4, 3, 2, 1 version, etc. When saved as MS-DOS text, it is in ASCII format and can be read by any package.

File Names

Type a name for your document in the File Name: box, then simply click the Save button.

Names can be up to 255 characters and if being used in a Windows 95 environment, no longer must conform to the DOS naming rules (no spaces, asterisks, etc.).

Printing a Worksheet Printing is handled through the File menu.

Select File, Print, OK.

To Preview on the screen before printing:

Select File, Print Preview. When finished previewing, select CLOSE


Overview of Error Values Microsoft Excel displays an error value in a cell when the formula for that cell cannot be calculated properly. If a formula includes a reference to a cell that contains an error value, that formula also produces an error value (unless you are using the special worksheet functions ISERR, ISERROR, or ISNA, which look for error values). You may have to trace the references back through a series of cells to discover the source of the error.

Error Value Meaning

#DIV/0! The formula is trying to divide by zero.
#N/A No value is available. Usually, you enter this value directly into worksheet cells that will eventually contain data that is not yet available. Formulas referring to those cells will return #N/A instead of calculating a value.
#NAME? Excel does not recognize a name used in the formula.
#NULL! You specified an intersection of two areas that do not intersect.
#NUM! There is a problem with a number.
#REF! The formula refers to a cell that is not valid.
#VALUE! An argument or operand is of the wrong type.


Formatting the Cell To change the appearance of the information in the cell, use FORMAT, CELL (or press Ctrl-1). You then have several subgroups to choose from. The first one is Number, then Alignment, Font, Border, Patterns, and Protection.

Format, Cell, Number

Choose from the categories shown to display the numbers in the cell (or range of cells), as well as how to display negative numbers, and number of decimal places to be shown.

Format, Cell, Alignment

Choose from the types shown for Horizontal alignment, vertical alignment, and Orientation. You can also choose Text Control to wrap text within the cell.

The default alignment is general which aligns text to the left, numbers to the right, and centers logical and error values.

Format, Cell, Font

Select the font, the style of the font, the size, whether or not to use underlines and underline style, color, any special effects.

Format, Cell, Border

How do you want the border to look, on which sides do you want a border, do you want a different color? This is different from Grid Lines in the Page Setup for the Sheet. Borders can emphasize certain areas of the spreadsheet.

Format, Cell, Patterns

Changes the pattern and pattern color of a selected cell. Just as you can change the color of text, you can change the color of the cell's background, or put a pattern in the cell's background.

Format, Cell, Protection

You can select for the cell to be locked, but it will have no effect unless the worksheet is protected using Tools, Protection, Protect Sheet.

Format, Row Purpose is to adjust row height, and hide or unhide rows.
  • You need to select only one cell in a row to change the height for the entire row.
  • To change the height of all rows in a worksheet, select the entire worksheet.
  • Double-click the bottom border of the row heading to adjust the row height for the best fit.
  • The commands on the submenu are not available if the sheet is protected.
  The Row Height can be a number from 0 to 409 representing the row height in points. If set to 0, the row is hidden.

The AutoFit command returns each row in the selection to the standard height within the row. The standard height for a row varies according to font size.

Format Column Adjusts column width, and hides or unhides columns.
  • You need to select only one cell in a column to change the width of the entire column.
  • To change the width of all columns in a worksheet, select the entire worksheet.
  • Double-click the right border of the column heading to quickly adjust the column width for the best fit.
  • The commands on the submenu are not available if the sheet is protected.

Width Command - Displays the Column Width dialog box. You can enter a number from 0 through 255 in the Column Width box. This number represents the number of characters that can be displayed in a cell using the standard font.

AutoFit Selection - Sets the column to the minimum width necessary to display the contents of the selected cells. If you change the cell contents later, you must fit the selection again.


Format Sheet Allows you to rename the sheets in a workbook, hide or unhide them from view.
Format, AutoFormat AutoFormat has a series of existing codes ready to be applied to your data sheet. First select the portion of the sheet, or the entire sheet to be affected by the codes, then choose FORMAT, AUTOFORMAT and select of the list provided. Additional options allow you to turn on or off certain factions, like changing the font, the patterns, etc.


Format, Styles

Deleting Text

Press Backspace key immediately after typing character.

Select character or text, and press Delete.

Use Edit, Delete to bring up the Delete dialog box.

  • If you delete an entire row or column, rows or columns are shifted to fill the space.
  • If you select less than an entire row or column, a dialog box appears asking whether to shift the surrounding cells up or to the left, or to delete the entire column or row.
  • A worksheet formula containing a reference to a deleted cell displays the #REF! value.
  • If you press Shift + click Delete button, it functions the same as the Insert button.
  • If you press Shift+click Delete Column button, it functions the same as the Insert Column button.
  • If you press Shift + click Delete Row button, it functions the same as the Insert Row button.
  • To remove the contents (formulas and data), formats, notes, or all three from selected cells, but not the cells themselves, use the CLEAR command.
Undo There are three ways to Undo.
  1. Edit, Undo reverses your last action. Choose Edit, Undo again to reverse the action before that, and so on.
  2. If you press Ctrl + Z repeatedly, it will reverse previous actions.
  3. The Undo toolbar button and its associated drop-down list menu let you undo multiple actions in sequence.

The exact name of the Undo choice on the Edit menu changes as you work. It remembers which steps you last took, and so can sometimes say Undo Typing, Undo the cut., etc. Can’t Undo appears on the Edit menu if you cannot undo the previous action.

Immediately after you undo an action, this command changes to Redo.

Shortcut Key: Ctrl + Z

Alt + Backspace

Redo Use the Redo command to undo an Undo. To redo your last action only, choose Edit, Redo.
Replacing Text Combine the steps of deleting unwanted text, positioning the insertion point, and inserting replacement text.
  1. Highlight the unwanted text.
  2. Start typing.

The old text disappears, and the new text snakes across the screen as you type.

Back to Intro to Excel 97 Table of Contents

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