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5 Ways to Select Multiple Shapes

Bottom Line: Learn how to select several shapes at once, including charts, slicers, images, etc.  These techniques will help you save time when working with reports and dashboards that contain multiple objects on the same worksheet.

Skill Level: Beginner

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You can download the file I’m using in the video to practice on your own.

5 Ways To Select Multiple Shapes.xlsx (24.9 KB)

Selecting Multiple Shapes

Being able to select many shapes simultaneously can be a real time-saver when you want to perform the same action on several objects at once.  Those actions could include:

  • Changing the size or properties of shapes.
  • Formatting their appearance.
  • Or just moving your images in bulk to another location on your worksheet.

Shapes can include charts, images, slicers, text boxes, photos, callouts, and more.

Below are five ways to quickly select several shapes at once.  Which option you choose might depend on whether you want to select just some of the shapes on your worksheet or all of them, or whether you are more comfortable with keyboard shortcuts versus using the ribbon menu.

Option 1: Using the Ctrl Key

After selecting one shape, we can hold down the Ctrl key while clicking on other shapes we want selected.  This allows us to pick and choose which shapes we want to manipulate.  Using the Shift key instead of Ctrl will produce the same outcome.

Hold down the Ctrl key while clicking the shapes to select...

When you select the first chart or shape, make sure to click on the border of the shape, not just one of the elements inside it.  Otherwise you might start editing the shape instead of selecting it.  After the first shape is selected, you can click anywhere on the other shapes to select them (while holding the Ctrl key).

Option 2: Using the Ctrl + A Keyboard Shortcut

As with Option 1, you will want to select one shape first, being sure to click on the border of the shape, not one of its components.  Hold the Ctrl key, then press the A key to select all of the shapes on the sheet.

Use Ctrl and A keys to select all shapes on a sheet.

Keyboard shortcut to Select all Shapes on a Worksheet: Ctrl+A

This option saves time if we have many shapes and don’t want to select each of them individually.  Because this option selects all of the shapes on our sheet, if there are certain shapes we want to exclude, we would need to use the Ctrl key, as in Option 1, to deselect the shapes we don’t want included.

Option 3: Using the Selection Pane

If you already have one or more shapes selected, click on the Format tab, and then the Selection Pane button to toggle on the Selection Pane.  It will appear to the right of the worksheet.

If you don’t have a shape already selected, the Selection Pane can be found in the ribbon under the Home tab, in the Find & Select dropdown menu.

For ease of use in the future, you can easily add the Selection Pane button to your Quick Access Toolbar.  You’ll find that option when you right-click on Selection Pane in the dropdown.

The Selection Pane allows us to see all the shapes on our sheet in list form.  This is especially convenient if our worksheet is large in area and we don’t want to hunt for particular objects.  The pane also gives us the ability to hide and unhide shapes, or to bring forward shapes that are overlapped by other objects.

Selection Pane allows you to select hide or bring shapes forward.

Option 4: Using the Select Objects Mode

If all of our shapes are clustered in the same area, we may want to make use of the Select Objects mode.  This is also found under the Find & Select dropdown menu on the Home tab of the ribbon.

Locating the Select Objects Mode in the Find and Select Menu...

Once you've turned this mode on, you simply highlight the area around all of the shapes you want to select.  You can highlight by clicking at one corner of your desired area, holding the left mouse button down while moving to the opposite corner, and then releasing the button.

You basically draw an area around the shapes you want to select.  All shapes that are completely inside the area you’ve drawn will then be selected.

This is similar to the behavior of selecting multiple objects in PowerPoint.

Select Objects Mode Draw Perimeter Around Shapes to Select

It's important to note that you will have to turn the mode off again to make changes in the cells of your worksheet.  You can do this by by clicking again on the Select Objects option in the Find & Select menu.

Select Objects is another great feature to add to your Quick Access Toolbar as it gives you the ability to more quickly toggle the mode on and off. Check out my post on how to setup the Quick Access Toolbar for more details.

Option 5: Using the Go To Special Menu

You can access this option from the Find & Select menu on the Home tab of the ribbon.  Click on the Objects radio button to select all of the objects on the sheet.

This option is probably the least useful of the five since it isn’t as fast as the keyboard shortcut to select all.  But it never hurts to know your options, right?

Choose Objects radio button on Go To Special Window to Select All Shapes...

Arranging Multiple Shapes

If you’d like to see how shapes can quickly be arranged to appear more professional and orderly, I encourage you to check out my brief tutorials on:

Please leave a comment below with any questions or suggestions on other ways to select multiple shapes.  Thank you! 🙂

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Jon Acampora
 

Welcome to Excel Campus! I am excited you are here. My name is Jon and my goal is to help you learn Excel to save time with your job and advance in your career. I've been an avid Excel user and VBA developer for 10+ years. I am also a Microsoft MVP. I try to learn something new everyday, and want to share this knowledge with you to help you improve your skills. When I'm not looking at spreadsheets, I get outdoors and surf. :) more about me

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 8 comments
شاپور - July 12, 2018

thanks a lot

Reply
indzara - July 7, 2018

Nice, clean and simple. Helpful.
Thanks.

Reply
Alaor Barbosa - July 6, 2018

Very useful,

Thank you very much for the tips.

Reply
Jon Peltier - July 6, 2018

Jon –

When selecting one chart, you need to worry about clicking on the border of the chart, or you might select some internal chart element. But even if you’ve selected a chart element, holding Ctrl and clicking anywhere on another chart will select the whole chart of the element that was initially selected and the whole second chart which was selected. No need to try to land the mouse on the narrow outline of a chart.

Reply
    Jon Acampora - July 6, 2018

    Ah yes. Thanks Jon! I will update the article to include that. 🙂

    Reply
Renier Wessels - July 6, 2018

Hi Jon. Just wanted to give you a shout out. Your tips and presentations are great.

Keep up the good work!
Renier

Reply
    Jon Acampora - July 6, 2018

    Thanks so much Renier! I really appreciate your support. Have a great weekend! 🙂

    Reply

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