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: Choosing Direction after Enter On a Workbook Basis.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 16, 2016)
When you press Enter after typing information into a cell, Excel normally saves your information and then moves to the next cell beneath the one where you pressed Enter. You can modify this behavior, however:
Figure 1. The advanced options of the Excel Options dialog box.
If you have a need to vary the Enter key behavior on a workbook-by-workbook basis, you might think you are out of luck. You can, however, use a little creative macro code to specify which direction you want to go after Enter, and have that code run whenever a workbook is activated.
For instance, let's say that you had a particular workbook, and you always want to move the selection up after pressing Enter. In this particular workbook, you can add the following code to the thisWorkbook object in the VBA editor:
Private Sub Workbook_WindowActivate(ByVal Wn As Excel.Window) bMove = Application.MoveAfterReturn lMoveDirection = Application.MoveAfterReturnDirection Application.MoveAfterReturn = True Application.MoveAfterReturnDirection = xlUp End Sub Private Sub Workbook_WindowDeactivate(ByVal Wn As Excel.Window) Application.MoveAfterReturn = bMove Application.MoveAfterReturnDirection = lMoveDirection End Sub
There are two separate subroutines here. The first one runs whenever the window for the workbook is activated. In this case, it stores the settings associated with the MoveAfterReturn and MoveAfterReturnDirection properties into variables. (You will learn about these variables shortly.) The macro then sets the MoveAfterReturn property to True and sets the direction to xlUp. If you want to go a different direction by default in this particular workbook, simply use a different Excel constant, such as xlDown, xlToLeft, or xlToRight.
The second subroutine runs whenever the workbook window is deactivated. In this case, the values of the MoveAfterReturn and MoveAfterReturnDirection properties are reset to what they were before the workbook was first activated.
The two variables used in these routines, lMoveDirection and bMove, need to be defined in the declaration portion of any module. This allows the variables to be accessed from both of the above routines.
Public lMoveDirection As Long Public bMove As Boolean
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7220) 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: Choosing Direction after Enter On a Workbook Basis.
Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!
Excel can recalculate your worksheets either automatically or manually. The default is to calculate them automatically, ...Discover More
The Ribbon, while debatably handy, can be downright difficult to use for those with a sight impairment. Here are some ...Discover More
When you make changes in a worksheet, Excel automatically recalculates everything that may be affected by that change. If ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.