How to Select Every Other Row in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Selecting every other row in Excel might sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple once you know how. This skill can be handy when you want to highlight alternate rows for better readability or apply a specific formatting. So, let’s dive in and learn how to do this in a few easy steps.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Select Every Other Row in Excel

Before we start with the steps, let’s understand what we’re trying to achieve here. Selecting every other row in Excel can help you quickly apply formatting, like color-coding, to alternating rows. This enhances the visual appeal and makes it easier to read through data. Now, let’s get to the steps.

Step 1: Open your Excel worksheet

Open the Excel file you want to work on.

Step 2: Select the first row you want to highlight

Click on the number of the first row you want to select. This will highlight the entire row.

Remember, if you want to start with the second row, click on the number 2 at the beginning of that row. It’s important to start with the right row to ensure the pattern continues correctly.

Step 3: Hold down the “Ctrl” key

While holding the “Ctrl” key, click on the number of every other row you want to select.

Holding down the “Ctrl” key allows you to select multiple rows that are not adjacent to each other. This step is crucial for selecting alternating rows.

Step 4: Release the “Ctrl” key once you’ve selected all desired rows

After selecting all the rows you need, you can release the “Ctrl” key.

Releasing the “Ctrl” key will confirm your selection. You can now proceed to apply whatever formatting or operations you need on these selected rows.

After completing these steps, you will have successfully selected every other row in your Excel worksheet. Now, you can apply formatting, like a fill color, to these rows to make your data stand out.

Tips for Selecting Every Other Row in Excel

  • To quickly select every other row, you can use the “Ctrl” + “Click” method described above.
  • If you’re working with a large dataset, consider using Excel’s “Go To Special” feature to select rows based on specific criteria.
  • Use conditional formatting to automate the process of highlighting every other row.
  • Remember that holding down the “Shift” key instead of the “Ctrl” key will select a continuous range of rows.
  • Practice makes perfect, so try out these tips on a sample worksheet to get the hang of it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need to select every third row instead?

To select every third row, you would follow a similar process but click on every third row number while holding down the “Ctrl” key.

Can I use a formula to select every other row?

Yes, you can use a formula combined with conditional formatting to automatically select every other row based on certain conditions.

Is there a keyboard shortcut to select every other row?

There isn’t a direct keyboard shortcut, but using “Ctrl” + “Click” is the closest and most efficient method.

What happens if I accidentally select the wrong row?

If you select the wrong row, simply click on it again while holding down the “Ctrl” key to deselect it.

Can I apply this method to columns instead of rows?

Absolutely, the same method works for selecting every other column as well. Just click on the column letters instead of row numbers.


  1. Open your Excel worksheet.
  2. Select the first row you want to highlight.
  3. Hold down the “Ctrl” key.
  4. Select every other row while holding the “Ctrl” key.
  5. Release the “Ctrl” key.


Selecting every other row in Excel is a piece of cake once you get the hang of it, right? It’s one of those Excel tricks that can save you a ton of time and make your data look neat and organized. The key takeaway here is to remember the “Ctrl” key – it’s your best friend when it comes to selecting non-adjacent cells or rows. With a little practice, you’ll be jazzing up your spreadsheets like a pro in no time! And if you ever get stuck, just come back to this guide for a quick refresher. Now, go ahead and give it a try on your own Excel worksheet. Happy Excel-ing!

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