Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. 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: Specifying the Behavior of the Enter Key.

Specifying the Behavior of the Enter Key

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 20, 2018)

When you type information into a cell, it is normal to press the Enter key at the end of your entry. Excel allows you to specify exactly what should happen after you press Enter. Basically, you can specify that nothing happen (the cell into which you entered information remains the currently selected cell) or that a different, adjacent cell is automatically selected.

To make your specification, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box, click the Advanced option. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The advanced options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  4. The first option in the Editing Options section of the dialog box is entitled After Pressing Enter, Move Selection. Either select or clear the check box, depending on whether you want the selection to move or not when pressing Enter.
  5. If you select the After Pressing Enter Move Selection check box, use the Direction drop-down list to specify the direction of the cell that should be selected.
  6. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8848) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Specifying the Behavior of the Enter Key.

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

Creating Tables with Specific Column Widths

Create a table and Word figures out column widths by dividing the horizontal space by the number of columns you want in ...

Discover More

Getting Information About Fields

Want to know what a certain field does and how to use it? Word's online help is surprisingly helpful in getting the ...

Discover More

Making PROPER Skip Certain Words

The PROPER worksheet function is used to change the case of text so that only the first letter of each word is uppercase. ...

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)

Adding a Little Animation to Your Life

Tired of the same old boring Excel look? You can add some life to your worksheets by introducing some animation. Here's ...

Discover More

Changing Gridline Color

Gridlines are very helpful in seeing where cells are located on the screen. You are not limited to black gridlines; ...

Discover More

Controlling Display of Page Breaks

Do you want page breaks displayed on the screen? Excel allows you to specify whether it should show those page breaks or not.

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

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine less than 9?

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.

Newest Tips
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.