How to Select Visible Cells in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Selecting visible cells in Excel can be a bit tricky, especially when you’re dealing with a large dataset that includes hidden rows or columns. But don’t fret, it’s not as hard as it seems. In just a few clicks, you can quickly select only the visible cells in your worksheet. Let’s dive in and show you how to do it!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Select Visible Cells in Excel

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s understand what we’re trying to achieve here. By following these steps, you’ll be able to select only the cells that are visible on your Excel worksheet, excluding any that are hidden. This is particularly useful when you want to copy, cut, or format only the cells that are displayed on your screen.

Step 1: Select the Range of Cells

Click and drag to select the range of cells that includes both visible and hidden cells.

When you select a range that includes hidden cells, Excel doesn’t differentiate between the two. That’s why we need to use a special command to select only the visible ones.

Step 2: Find the ‘Go To Special’ Option

Press Ctrl + G on your keyboard to open the ‘Go To’ dialog box, then click ‘Special’.

The ‘Go To Special’ feature is a powerful tool in Excel that allows you to quickly select specific types of cells, like formulas, blanks, or in our case, visible cells.

Step 3: Select ‘Visible Cells Only’

In the ‘Go To Special’ dialog box, select the ‘Visible cells only’ option, then click ‘OK’.

By choosing this option, you’re telling Excel to ignore any cells that are hidden and only select the ones that are in plain sight.

After completing these steps, you’ll notice that only the visible cells in the range you initially selected are highlighted. Now, you can copy, cut, format, or perform any other action on these cells without affecting the hidden ones.

Tips: Selecting Visible Cells in Excel

  • If you frequently need to select visible cells, you can add the ‘Select Visible Cells’ command to your Quick Access Toolbar for easier access.
  • Remember that the ‘Go To Special’ dialog box can also be accessed through the ‘Find & Select’ dropdown menu on the ‘Home’ tab.
  • To quickly select all visible cells in an entire worksheet, click on the corner button between the row numbers and column letters, then use the ‘Go To Special’ method.
  • When you copy and paste only visible cells, Excel will automatically exclude any hidden rows or columns in the pasted range.
  • If you’re working with filtered data, selecting visible cells allows you to copy only the filtered results, not the entire dataset.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I want to select visible cells using a keyboard shortcut?

You can use the Alt + ; (semicolon) shortcut after selecting your range to select only visible cells quickly.

Can I use this method to select visible cells when I have filters applied?

Yes, this method works perfectly when you’ve applied filters. It will select only the filtered (visible) cells.

Will selecting visible cells also select cells hidden by groupings or outlines?

Yes, the ‘Visible cells only’ option will select cells that are not hidden by any means, including groupings or outlines.

What happens if I try to copy and paste only the visible cells?

When you paste the copied visible cells, Excel will maintain the original structure and will not include any hidden cells in the pasted data.

Can I format only visible cells without affecting hidden cells?

Absolutely! Once you’ve selected only the visible cells, any formatting you apply will only affect those cells and leave the hidden ones unchanged.


  1. Select the range of cells.
  2. Open the ‘Go To’ dialog box and select ‘Special’.
  3. Choose the ‘Visible cells only’ option.


Selecting visible cells in Excel is a piece of cake once you know the right steps to follow. Whether you’re dealing with a small table or a massive database, this handy trick can save you tons of time and frustration. No more accidentally formatting or deleting hidden cells—now you’re in full control of what you’re selecting.

Remember, Excel is a powerful tool with loads of features just waiting to be explored. So why stop at selecting visible cells? Dive deeper, learn more, and become an Excel wizard! Who knows what other time-saving tricks you might uncover? And if you ever find yourself scratching your head, wondering how to select visible cells in Excel, just come back here for a quick refresher. Happy Excel-ing!

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