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Excel 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Making Continuous Range Selections

Simplest of all is selecting a continuous range of cells. A continuous range is a block of cells that has the shape of a rectangle (high-school math reminder: a square is a kind of rectangle), as shown in Figure 3-1. The easiest way to select a continuous range is to click the top-left cell you want to select. Then drag to the right (to select more columns) or down (to select more rows). As you go, Excel highlights the selected cells in blue. Once you've highlighted all the cells you want, release the mouse button. Now you can perform an action, like copying the cells' contents, formatting the cells, or pasting new values into the selected cells.

Top: The three selected cells (A1, B1, and C1) cover the column titles.Bottom: This selection covers the nine cells that make up the rest of the worksheet. Notice that Excel doesn't highlight the first cell you select. In fact, Excel knows you've selected it (as you can see by the thick black border that surrounds it), but it has a white background to indicate that it's the active cell. When you start typing, Excel inserts your text in this cell.

Figure 3-1. Top: The three selected cells (A1, B1, and C1) cover the column titles. Bottom: This selection covers the nine cells that make up the rest of the worksheet. Notice that Excel doesn't highlight the first cell you select. In fact, Excel knows you've selected it (as you can see by the thick black border that surrounds it), but it has a white background to indicate that it's the active cell. When you start typing, Excel inserts your text in this cell.

In the simple expense worksheet from Chapter 1, for example, you could first select the cells in the top row and then apply bold formatting to make the column titles stand out. (Once you've selected the top three cells, press Ctrl+B, or chose Home→Font→Bold.) ...

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