Tip: Don't forget to cancel multiple sheet selections

It's common to make the same change to more than one sheet in an Excel workbook. For instance, you might want to change column widths or apply a format to a range of cells for several sheets. By creating a group of selected sheets, you can perform the task just once. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to select more than one sheet to create a multi-sheet selection:

  • To select contiguous sheets: Click a sheet tab, hold down Shift and click a second sheet tab. Excel will select both clicked sheets and all the sheets in between.
  • To select noncontiguous sheets: Hold down Ctrl while you click sheet tabs. Excel will select all of the clicked sheets.
  • To select all sheets: Right-click a sheet tab and choose Select All Sheets.
  • To select the current sheet and the previous sheet: Press Shift + Ctrl + Page Up.
  • To select the current sheet and the next sheet: Press Shift + Ctrl + Page Down.

Mistakes occur when you forget that you're working with a multi-sheet selection. Remember, everything you do to the current sheet, Excel also does to every sheet in the selection. If you make changes to a selection of sheets when you meant to change just the current sheet, you could have a lot of damage to repair. If you're lucky, you can simply reopen the file without saving your changes, but even then, you'll lose some of your work.

Avoid trouble by canceling a multi-sheet selection task as soon as you complete your multi-sheet tasks. Do so by clicking an unselected sheet or right-clicking a selected sheet tab and choosing Ungroup Sheets.


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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