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.

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:

  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 of the dialog box click Advanced. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The advanced options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  4. Under Editing Options, make sure that the checkbox for "After pressing Enter, move selection" is checked (it should be by default).
  5. Using the Direction drop-down list, change the direction as desired. Changing the direction affects how Excel behaves in all workbooks.

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.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Keeping the Flash Drive Occupied

Working on a document stored on a flash drive can have some unintended consequences. Here's some help in understanding how ...

Discover More

Changing Time Settings

Windows 8 has actually made it a bit more difficult to change the time settings on your system. Microsoft did this by ...

Discover More

Aligning Borders with the Page Margins

Add a border to a paragraph and you may find that it extends to the left and right of the regular text margins. To pull the ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (RIBBON)

Turning Off Display of Zeros for All Worksheets

Some people like zero values displayed; others do not. Excel allows you to easily turn the display on or off for a single ...

Discover More

Slash Key No Longer Works as Expected

Press the slash key and Excel may display a series of keyboard commands near the ribbon. If this behavior drives you nuts, ...

Discover More

Setting the Calculation Default

Excel can recalculate your worksheets either automatically or manually. The default is to calculate them automatically, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

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.

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share