Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Tab Key Jumps a Screen at a Time.

Tab Key Jumps a Screen at a Time

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 24, 2020)


In Excel, different keys have different purposes when it comes to navigating around your worksheet. Normally, when you press the Tab key you will notice that Excel moves the cell cursor one column to the right. Not all spreadsheet programs behave this way, however. For instance, when you press the Tab key in Lotus 1-2-3, the cell cursor jumps a full screen to the right, instead of a single column.

Excel, in its efforts to make life easier on people who are just changing to the program, will emulate the navigation keys used by Lotus 1-2-3. If you press the Tab key in Excel, and the cell cursor jumps one screen to the right, then your system is using the navigation emulator instead of the native Excel navigation keys. To change back to the Excel defaults, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 and later versions, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Advanced.
  3. Scroll through the list of available options until you see the Lotus Compatibility options. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced options in the Excel Options dialog box.

  5. Clear the Transition Navigation Keys check box.
  6. Click on OK.

That's it. Your Tab key should now work as expected, moving one column to the right each time you press it.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6710) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Tab Key Jumps a Screen at a Time.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is four less than 5?

2022-04-26 17:04:57


thank you for this clear fix for a maddening glitch.

2022-03-19 17:06:00

Nicholas Lutes

thank you for this clear fix for a maddening glitch.

2020-10-15 12:11:01


Thanks! This tip worked perfectly!

2020-05-16 06:23:56

Peter Atherton

I find these Key strokes useful
To jump a screen to left or right use ALT + PgUp & Alt + PgDown
To Jump to the next sheet use Ctrl + PgUp or Ctrtl + PgDown
Tab between Windows Alt + Tab

2020-05-16 00:03:15

P. Kumar


2020-01-04 05:03:26



2019-11-18 09:56:56

John Mann

My version of Lotus 1-2-3 (9.8) behaves the same way as Excel - TAB moves to the next cell to the right and SHIFT-TAB is moves left.I have used most versions of 1-2-3 from ver 5 on. I don't recall experiencing a different behaviour. In the 9.x versions of 1-2-3 there is an option to change that behaviour so that TAB moves one screen right (File > User Setup > 1-2-3 Preferences and select the "Classic Keys" tab). As best as I remeber it, this setting is to enable behaviour the same as very early versions of 1-2-3 such as the DOS versions. (I could probably find some floppy disks with the install files for one of the DOS versions - problem would be finding a floppy dirve.)

2019-09-02 07:54:48

L M Cox

You are a life saver! The amount of frustration this has caused!!... all fixed now - very happy!!

2019-04-28 02:30:08

Ted Phillips

Thanks very much!

2019-03-29 17:45:54


Thank you for this article! It was so clear and helpful!!

2018-09-23 21:26:25


Thanks Mate.

2017-12-25 05:43:11

Willy Vanhaelen

@Peter Atherton
You stil have to change the settings if you want the tab key to move one cell to the right or the next cell in a selection.

2017-12-24 09:21:20

Peter Atherton

No need to change settings. Alt + Page Down to move --> and Alt + Page up to jump right<--

2017-12-23 05:36:28

Dave Smith

Hi Chris,

If you need to move to the far right of your spreadsheet on a regular basis then CTRL+RIGHT arrow will take the cursor to the end of the row the cursor is on, assuming you have data in all the columns in that row.

Hope this helps?


2017-12-22 11:08:47


Nice tip! I used it in reverse. Generally I don't use the tab key, but I have a crazy worksheet with a thousand columns. When I need to page across it is now easier to hit tab than to click the scroll bar. Thanks.

2017-12-21 02:57:06


Thanks. Your tips helped me.

2017-08-10 13:33:29



2016-12-13 09:01:34

Bill McDavitt

Microsoft's Help was no help at all. A quick Google search led me to this page which in turn was precisely the information I was after. Despite using Excel for ~15 years, I still have plenty to learn. Many thanks for making this post.

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