How can I deselect all cells via keyboard without changing the active cell?


  • 1
    By pressing Escape?
    – LPChip
    Jan 31, 2017 at 19:17
  • 1
    @LPChip I tried pressing Escape. It didn't work.
    – wally
    Jan 31, 2017 at 19:25
  • What are you trying to achieve by this?
    – Alex
    Jan 31, 2017 at 19:46

2 Answers 2


Shift + Backspace should do the trick(tried it on Excel 2016)

  • Where did you find the answer?
    – wally
    Jan 31, 2017 at 20:36
  • Just tried a few known shortcuts.
    – Alex
    Jan 31, 2017 at 20:47
  • 1
    Known shortcuts: Click on empty space on the Desktop, hit F1 and type shortcut keys +enter.
    – Hannu
    Jan 31, 2017 at 20:58
  • @Hannu I tried that and it doesn't show this shortcut.
    – wally
    Jan 31, 2017 at 21:28
  • Also works on Excel 2010.
    – user121391
    Jan 22, 2019 at 10:51

Double Click in a cell outside the selection area to de-select. Works in Office 2016 for Mac, using Version 15.33 (170409).

Note: Using the Escape key, Single Click and Shift+Delete doesn't deselect the area (for me using Office 2016 for Mac).

  • The question asks "without changing the active cell". Does this answer change the active cell?
    – wally
    Mar 3, 2018 at 13:34
  • This is an answer for a slightly different issue that I was looking for, so I'm glad it was listed so I could find it from google. If you click a cell, and Copy it (ctrl+c), it has the "marching ants" around it, even if you paste the data somewhere. In photoshop you can press ctrl+D to deselect those selections, but I don't see any "deselect" option in excel. Double-clicking a cell does eliminate the marching ants (Esc seems to as well though). Aug 5, 2019 at 21:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.