Repeat Selection in Excel

Select alternate rows or columns without holding Ctrl

Sometimes you may need to make a recurrent selection – shade alternate rows, or every other column, or a custom pattern, etc. Holding down Ctrl and handpicking cells is not an option for large spreadsheets with thousands of rows.

The Repeat Selection tool helps select cells in any recurrent pattern:

  • Shade alternate rows or columns
  • Make checkerboard selections
  • Repeat any custom selection throughout a range

XLTools Repeat Selection Feature overview


Add XLTools Repeat Selection to Excel 2016-2007

Works with: Microsoft Excel 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, and desktop version of Office 365.

Download XLTools Add-in


Learn your way around:


How to select every Nth row (alternate rows)

Suppose you need to select every 3rd row in a table:

  1. Select the first in the pattern 3rd row, e.g. ‘Name C’.
  2. Click the ‘Repeat Selection’ button.
  3. Define the area where you want to repeat the shading pattern, e.g. range A2:K15.
    Tip: find the starting cell in the range. Since ‘Name C’ is the 3rd row – then first row is ‘Name A’ which begins in A2.
  4. Click OK > Done, every 3rd row is selected.
  5. Now you can delete, copy, color or otherwise format these rows at once.

How to select every other row in Excel


How to select every Nth column (alternate columns)

Suppose you need to select every 2nd column in a table:

  1. Select the first in the pattern 2nd column, e.g. ‘Task B’ column.
  2. Click the ‘Repeat Selection’ button.
  3. Define the area where you want to repeat the shading pattern, e.g. B1:K15.
  4. Tip: find the starting cell in the range. Since ‘Task B’ is the 2nd column – then first column is ‘Task A’ which begins in B1.
  5. Click OK > Done, every 2nd column is selected.
  6. Now you can delete, copy, color or otherwise format these columns at once.

How to select every other column in Excel


How to select cells in a checkerboard pattern

Recurrent selection does not necessarily mean shading entire rows or columns. You can select a recurrent pattern of specific cells – e.g. a checkerboard pattern. The same logic can be applied to any custom pattern:

  1. Hold the Ctrl button and select the first two diagonal cells in the table, e.g. B2 and C3.
  2. Click ‘Repeat Selection’ .
  3. Define the area where you want apply the pattern, e.g. B2:K15.
  4. Click OK > Done, cells are shaded in a checkerboard pattern.
  5. Now you can color or format these cells at once.

Select cells in checkerboard pattern in Excel

 

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2 Responses to Repeat Selection in Excel

  1. Jon says:

    Does it HAVE to select the entire row? Cant it select only certain cells within the row?

    • Maria Balobanova says:

      Hello Jon,

      Sure, you can select only certain cells in any pattern you want. To do so, please follow the same principle as described in the tip for checkerboard pattern above. Thanks for your interest in XLTools!

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