How to Select Only the Visible Cells in Excel 2016 and Prior

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Excel can act unexpectedly when you copy and paste a range of cells. By default, the program will copy and paste all of the cells--even if some have been hidden. Here's the time-saving shortcut that will select only the visible cells in Excel, ignoring those hidden rows and columns.

Whether you've used a filter that hides certain cells, collapsed an outline, or hidden specific rows or columns, sometimes you want to work just with the data you see. You can select the visible cells with a keyboard shortcut or with the Go To Special menu.

Select Only the Visible Cells with Alt+;

1. Select the range of cells in your worksheet.

excel selected2. Press Alt+; (hold down the Alt key and then press the semicolon key). On a Mac the shortcut is Cmd+Shift+Z.

excel shortcut

Excel will exclude all the hidden data from your selection and then you can copy (Ctrl+C) and paste (Ctrl+V) only the visible cells.

Select Visible Cells Only with the Go To Special Menu

The keyboard shortcut is the quickest way to select visible cells only, but if you don't use this feature often, you can instead use the Go To Special menu.

1. Select the range of cells in your worksheet.

2. Click the Find & Select button on the Home tab, then click Go to Special…

excel gotospecial3. Select Visible cells only…

excel gotospecial2

4. Click OK.

Now you can copy and paste without worrying about the hidden data being pasted also.

Add a comment
  • Gavin Says:

    I found a workaround on a Mac (2017):

    1. Edit > Select All (or just the row range you are concerned about)

    2. Edit > Find > Go To... > Special

    3. [Tick] Visible Cells Only

    4. OK

    5. Edit > Copy

    6. Paste into a new Excel document.

    The hidden cells will not be in the new document.

    Clunky, but it works.

  • Steve B Says:

    This works in Win10, HOWEVER it will also select your column headings. I'm trying to filter and delete the 1000's of rows that I don't need. still need column headings. any ideas?

  • shoaib Says:

    this is incorrect.... can't do this on office 2010 on windows... please post new one

  • Timothy Frank Boerste Says:

    Valuable info. Thanks for your support.


    Thank you for valuable support.

  • Heimi Says:

    On a Mac, its COMMAND + SHIFT + * (asterisk)

  • shzi2 Says:

    Can't Paste in multiple selections.

    This is not true

  • noope Says:

    mac 2016, pretty sure CMD+SHFT+Z is just "redo"

  • wad ef Says:

    doesnt work for mac! this procedure is not true

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