How to Highlight a Whole Column in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

how to highlight a whole column in excel

Highlighting a whole column in Excel is a simple process that can save you loads of time. To do this, just click on the letter at the top of the column you want to highlight. This will select every cell in that column, making it easy to format, manipulate data, or just get a good look at everything in one place.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Highlight a Whole Column in Excel

In this section, you’ll learn how to highlight an entire column in Excel, step-by-step. This is super useful for managing large sets of data efficiently.

Step 1: Open Your Excel Spreadsheet

First things first, you need to have your Excel spreadsheet open.

Make sure you know exactly which column you want to highlight. If you’re unsure, take a quick glance over your data to decide.

Step 2: Locate the Column Letter

Look at the letters at the top of your spreadsheet. These letters represent each column.

Each column is labeled with a unique letter, starting from ‘A’ and moving rightwards. This makes it easy to find the one you need.

Step 3: Click on the Column Letter

Once you’ve found the column letter, just click it.

Clicking the letter will automatically highlight the entire column, from the top to the bottom. You don’t have to drag your mouse or anything.

Step 4: Apply Formatting if Needed

With the column highlighted, you can now apply any formatting you need.

This could be changing the font, adding borders, or even applying conditional formatting. This step is optional but handy.

Step 5: Deselect the Column

When you’re done, click anywhere else in the spreadsheet to deselect the column.

This will remove the highlight but keep all the changes you’ve made. Simple, right?

After you complete these steps, your entire chosen column will be highlighted, and you can make any necessary changes to it. This makes it easier to manage and manipulate large datasets.

Tips for How to Highlight a Whole Column in Excel

  1. Double-Click Boundary: Double-clicking the boundary of a column letter will automatically resize the column to fit its longest cell entry.
  2. Shift Key: Hold down the Shift key while clicking another column letter to highlight multiple columns simultaneously.
  3. CTRL + Space: Use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + Space to instantly highlight a column.
  4. Custom Views: Set up custom views to quickly highlight and format columns without doing it manually every time.
  5. Filters: Use filters to sort and highlight specific data within a column without affecting the entire dataset.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I highlight multiple columns in Excel?

You can highlight multiple columns by clicking the first column letter, holding down the Shift key, and then clicking the last column letter.

Can I highlight a column without using the mouse?

Yes, you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + Space to quickly highlight a column.

How do I remove highlighting from a column?

To remove highlighting, simply click anywhere else in the spreadsheet to deselect the column.

Can I apply conditional formatting to a highlighted column?

Absolutely! Once a column is highlighted, you can apply any conditional formatting rules you want.

What if I want to highlight non-adjacent columns?

Hold down the CTRL key while clicking on each column letter you want to highlight. This allows you to select non-adjacent columns.


  1. Open Your Excel Spreadsheet
  2. Locate the Column Letter
  3. Click on the Column Letter
  4. Apply Formatting if Needed
  5. Deselect the Column


Highlighting a whole column in Excel is a straightforward task that can greatly enhance your efficiency when dealing with large datasets. Whether you’re a beginner or an Excel pro, mastering this simple trick can save you time and effort. Now that you know how to highlight a whole column in Excel, why not put it into practice? Try it out on your next spreadsheet and notice how much smoother your workflow becomes. Don’t stop here; explore other Excel features to keep boosting your productivity!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy