Quickly highlight matching values in Excel with keyboard shortcut

When you just need to see matching values and you don't want to filter or sort, try this Excel keyboard trick.

There are numerous ways to find matching data in an Excel sheet. Filters are probably the most versatile. Sorting is probably the easiest way, but even that's unnecessary if all you want to do is review matching values. In other words, if you don't need the values rearranged or filtered, there's a quicker way. Excel offers a keyboard shortcut trick that's quick to implement and easy to remember.

Let's work through an example using the sheet shown below. Specifically, let's highlight all the beverage records as follows:

  1. Highlight any cell in column G that contains the text value, Beverage.
  2. Press [Ctrl]+[Space] to select column G.
  3. Press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+\.

The combo in step 3 selects all the cells (in the column) that do not match the value in the active cell. It's a bit counter intuitive, but it works great!


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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