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Navigate Cells Without Deselecting

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004 by | Filed Under: MS Excel

Navigate Cells Without Deselecting

So… you’ve got a fairly large range of cells selected in MS Excel and you’re just about to move them, or copy, or print—whatever—but, oh no!

Right there, in the middle of the data, you’ve noticed something that needs to be changed.


You know that this means you’ve got to lose the data selection in order to get into that cell and make the changes.

Then there’s all that re-selecting the data again…

I hate repeating work! Don’t you?

Yeah, I thought you might, so, how about a way to edit the data without deselecting the entire data range?

Sound good?

Glad you agree. I’m thinking it’s time to get to the “how to”.

All you need to know is the right key combination and you’re cruising through the selected cells while they’re still highlighted. No deselecting here.

  • Use Enter to move one cell down.
  • Use Shift + Enter to move one cell up.
  • Use Tab to move one cell to the right.
  • Use Shift + Tab to move one cell to the left.

All you have to do to avoid deselecting the cell range is to use the appropriate keys to navigate to the cell to be changed, make the change and hit Enter.


Adjustments made but no re-highlighting of cells required.

Just a word of warning: whatever you do, don’t use the page up, page down, home, end or arrow keys! Those keys will immediately deselect the cells while moving to the requested location.

One more little tidbit…

If you use today’s Office 101 tip and change the direction control for the Enter key then it also changes the direction of the Enter key in this tip. For example, if you set the Enter key to make the cell selection move to the right then the Enter and Shift + Enter in this tip will move right and left too. (Just like the Tab and Shift + Tab.)

Now get on with the data editing without causing cell deselection.

~ April

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