Ctrl+A to select all in formula bar
Allow selecting all the text with Ctrl+A in a cell, formula bar, or anywhere that cell references are edited (like Conditional Formatting, Named Ranges, Data Validation).
In addition, allow Ctrl+Backspace in the same places. Ctrl+arrow key already works to skip between words.
This was brought up last year and an MS rep incorrectly marked it "already supported" and closed it for voting. https://excel.uservoice.com/forums/304921-excel-for-windows-desktop-application/suggestions/10555113-ctrl-a-just-like-any-other-win-app
The "smart select" that only initially selects a portion of the worksheet when I want to "SELECT ALL" is a major hindrance to accuracy. I just did some "ctrl-a" find and replace operations and this incomplete selection left formulas unchanged! Give us a way to globally disable this deliberately unhelpful feature.
F2>Ctrl A would be quicker, but I've found that F2>Ctrl+Shift+LeftArrow at least allows me to highlight the whole formula by holding down the LeftArrow so I don't have to leave the keyboard and grab the mouse.
It gets even better in Excel 2019. Now if I F2 a cell that has multiple lines via "Alt-Enter" it 90% of the time places an insertion point that will move about in response to things like "Ctrl-Home" but only in appearance.
If I do that, then press "Ctrl-Shift-End" which should highlight everything in the cell, it just moves to strange places, but mostly right back to where it appeared to begin with. Weirdly, lets say I have a line ending in "Alt-Enter" so the line breaks and we move down to line 2, the insertion point most often appears TO THE RIGHT of the line break by the equivalent of 2-3 spaces. Just strange.
But yeah, having to do the "Ctrl-Home" / "Ctrl-Shift-End" thing or its equivalents, or hand back to the mouse and muck with highlighting has always been obnoxious, awkward, and time-wasting. Especially when you don't realize right off that there are multiple lines and just highlight one line of the contents but think you have it all, perhaps paste a new formula into the middle of the old instead of replacing it (you use this route to keep references static while pasting).
Being able to hit F2, then "Ctrl-A" and have it all, just like Major Smith, would be nice! (But we wouldn't be forgiving all MS's sins, just this one.) (Where Eagles Dare, if you'd like a great movie to watch.)
Finally, in other venues than cell editing, one often finds that the arrow and related keys are set to sort of be mouse-like: press left arrow in a Named Range formula, for example, and you get a new cell reference popping in, appropriate to your intent or not, and not replacing anything, just inserted. "Ctrl-Home" has a similar effect. Yes, you can the remember to press F2 first, fix the change, then make the edits you intended, but something like "Ctrl-A" might fix that. Or if the engine keeps all key presses acting in the sheet context until F2 is pressed, I guess it would just add to the nightmare. Be nice to have it though.
I'm going through approximately 500 cells where I have to select the entire formula and either copy or paste-to-replace the entire formula before editing the cell references in the formula. I have to stop and grab the mouse EVERY SINGLE TIME to highlight the entire formula instead of just pressing F2>Ctrl A>Ctrl C or Ctrl V. There has to be a faster way.
Andrew B commented
It gets very tedious when you're copying and pasting out of Excel into something else as plain text. For instance, at the moment I'm copying stuff from Excel to Visio. I should be able to:
Double click > ctrl-A > ctrl-C > alt+tab (to Visio) > ctrl-V
But I have to:
Double Click > Click at start of cell & drag > ctrl-C > alt+tab (to Visio) > ctrl-V
Doesn't look like much, but multiply that by 50...
This is the most awaited feature ever. The only thing that still makes Libre/Open Office Calc better. Can't live without Ctrl + A! The work goes so slow without it.
Excel Help commented
I'd love to use add-ins to solve numerous Excel shortcomings, Gareth, but our organization requires we use MS products out-of-the-box.
Gareth Hayter commented
Great suggestion. FYI: the FormulaDesk add-in enables CTRL+A in the formula bar (but not in the other places you mention).