Cells and Ranges

The term active cell describes any cell that you have selected in your spreadsheet. Data can be entered or formatted in an active cell, without modifying the rest of your sheet.

A single, active cell

Figure 1: Example of active cell

More than one active cell is called a range, which can be either continuous or non-continuous. Active cells that are all adjacent to each other signify a continuous range. To define a continuous range, click on an active cell and drag your cursor to highlight neighboring cells.

A group of active cells

Figure 2: Example of continuous range

Active cells that have gaps between them form a non-continuous range. To define a non-continuous range, press and hold down the Control key (Command Key for Mac users) and click and drag your cursor to select cells.

A group of active cells with gaps

Figure 3: Example of a non-continuous range

From the screenshots, the active cells will have a border or gray fill to indicate that they are active. This visual may look different on your computer depending on your OS or version of Excel.