When reading larger spreadsheets, it would be helpful to highlight the row and column that the currently selected cell is in. I'm not talking about conditional formatting or anything in the spreadsheet itself, I'm just talking about a viewing option. I couldn't find a similar option anywhere.

  • Good question. It seems that even now it's not possible. I just played with it a bit. Some of the ideas I thought: does conditional highlighting allow for referencing a cell or formula? No. It's possible to retrieve the contents of a cell so could it be used in conditional highlighting (text option)? The problem is the INDIRECT function does not allow referencing the current cell and it would change anyway. You can retrieve the row and also column of the cell but since highlighting does not allow row/column reference... (1/2) – Pryftan Aug 12 '19 at 14:52
  • Macros don't exist in Numbers that I could see. There is the 'Automator' but I could not see how to make anything work with this either. I was hoping that a customisable key combination could say highlight a specific range of of cells but I did not see any possibility with this either. I have had other ideas but nothing seems to do it that I could think of. Maybe it's something that should be requested to Apple. Shame. I could really use this as well. Cheers. (2/2) – Pryftan Aug 12 '19 at 14:54
  • Another thought I just had is what if you could add a top row and leftmost column and then label those - and then use the INDIRECT function to get the text (label) - and then use that in conditional highlighting. Well you can do the first part but the only 'function' I can see in conditional highlighting text is you can specify a column, say, but not the current column. I hope I am explaining that right. I don't know if this can be used somehow but maybe it has some value or gives someone an idea. – Pryftan Aug 12 '19 at 15:04

If I understand your question, Numbers does this by default - note the darkened row and column identifiers in the image below at AK50.


Edit: ah, I see.. okay, I found an inconvenient hack:

  • Select the Column containing your target cell
  • Cmd click the cell above (or the Cmd Click the row index of the cell above)
  • Cmd click the Row containing your target cell
  • Cmd click to reselect the cell above your target

Like so:

Cmd Click the row index of the cell above

Cmd click the Row containing your target cell

Cmd click to reselect the cell above your target

Maybe you could use automator to make this less painful?

  • Sorry, I should have been clearer: I'm hoping to have the entire row and column highlighted, to make it easier to identify other cells in that row and column. In large spreadsheets it can be hard to tell for sure if a cell is in the same row as another. – T3db0t Jan 10 '13 at 22:29
  • @VirgilDisgr4ce - I see - I've edited may answer above - but its a painful hack (its only one extra click to get the funny T shaped highlight) – ptim Jan 11 '13 at 23:41
  • Great instructions. This is easier than it sounds actually, albeit a bit awkward! – NOTjust -- user4304 Mar 1 '13 at 18:57
  • 1
    Hm, I was thinking of something that's constant and automatic; highlighting the entire row and column makes it MUCH easier to read on a very large window. – T3db0t Feb 28 '14 at 16:45
  • The thing is this isn't highlighting the cells; what you're describing is ... Ah I see what you're doing. Yes that's very inconvenient and impractical unfortunately. I looked into Automator but I couldn't find anything that would be of use here. And unfortunately Numbers does not have (that I could find) key combinations performing a set task. Maybe AppleScript could help but although the scripting itself I could figure out easily enough I do not know exactly how the scripts interact with the specific applications. – Pryftan Aug 12 '19 at 15:07

Another method, useful for selecting a range of rows in a column, is to click on the uppermost cell you want to select, scroll down to the bottom of the range, shift-click on that cell. All rows between will be selected (in addition to the two you clicked on).

  • It's true that you can do this to select more than one cell. It's also true that if you also use Command key you can select a different set of cells (at the same time). Actually this works in other parts of macOS e.g. Photos and Finder. But the question here is is it possible to highlight the row of the currently selected cell. The reasoning behind it (at least as it is for me) is to make it easier to see which row you're working on in case you want to e.g. check that you're on the right row. It's not really what is being asked I personally commend people for trying to help so have a +1. – Pryftan Aug 12 '19 at 14:29

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