How to Deselect Cells in Microsoft Excel Without Starting Over

Saikat Basu 05-03-2018

Microsoft Excel is packed with productivity shortcuts 14 Tips to Save Time in Microsoft Excel If Microsoft Excel has consumed a lot of your time in the past, let us show you how to get some of it back. These simple tips are easy to remember. Read More . For instance, there are many ways to select cells, a range of cells, and even the entire spreadsheet.


But what do you do if you select a cell or area by mistake? There’s no built-in way to remove that from the selection without deselecting the entire selection and starting over.

That is, until now. In this post, we’ll show you how to start using the new Deselect feature in Microsoft Excel which solves that exact problem.

How to Deselect Cells in Microsoft Excel

Selecting too many cells or highlighting the wrong range of cells is an easy mistake to make in Excel, and it’s both frustrating and time-consuming. That’s why Microsoft Excel introduced the Deselect tool. As of this writing, this feature is only available to Office 365 subscribers.

Here’s how you can deselect cells within a range of cells that are highlighted in three quick steps.

  1. Hold the Ctrl key.
  2. Click to deselect any cell or click and drag to deselect a range of cells within a selection.
  3. To reselect any of those cells, hold the Ctrl key again and reselect those cells.

Deselect Cell in Excel


Note that if a worksheet is protected, then you won’t be able to select cells or their contents. Also, the way to select cells hasn’t changed.

To select a range of contiguous cells: Click the first cell in the range, and then drag to the last cell. Alternatively, hold down Shift and use the arrow keys to extend the selection.

To select a bunch of non-contiguous cells: Select the first cell or range of cells, and then hold down Ctrl while you select the other cells or ranges.

Now, thanks to the Deselect feature you don’t have to cancel the entire selection if you don’t select the right cells. Update to the latest version of Office 365 and try this feature today.

Related topics: Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Office 2016, Microsoft Office 365.

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  1. Scoox
    April 7, 2019 at 4:18 am

    Is this implemented in Excel 2016? I don't know what took them so long, Google Sheets has had this from the beginning. There are many things in Google Sheets that are better implemented than in Excel. One Sheets gets macros I'm done with Excel.