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


  • 1
    By pressing Escape?
    – LPChip
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:17
  • 1
    @LPChip I tried pressing Escape. It didn't work.
    – wally
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:25
  • What are you trying to achieve by this?
    – Alex
    Commented 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
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:36
  • Just tried a few known shortcuts.
    – Alex
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:47
  • 1
    Known shortcuts: Click on empty space on the Desktop, hit F1 and type shortcut keys +enter.
    – Hannu
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:58
  • @Hannu I tried that and it doesn't show this shortcut.
    – wally
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 21:28
  • Also works on Excel 2010.
    – user121391
    Commented 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
    Commented 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). Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 21:08

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