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. ...

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