Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 26, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


4

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 Microsoft 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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Comments

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What is five more than 4?

2022-09-29 10:31:42

J. Woolley

@Al dTrain
You evidently have the option set as in the Tip's figure: After pressing Enter, move selection Down.
For your scenario, use the Tab key instead of Enter for data entry when a range is selected. When you press Tab after editing a cell's value, the selection moves left-to-right first, then down to the start of the range's next row. Otherwise, Tab functions like Enter.
See https://excelribbon.tips.net/T006710_Tab_Key_Jumps_a_Screen_at_a_Time.html
and https://www.theexceladdict.com/_t/t031217.htm
When you change the Enter key's direction, your scenario changes, too. It is interesting to experiment with different choices. See my comment here: https://excelribbon.tips.net/T007220_Choosing_Direction_after_Enter_On_a_Workbook_Basis.html


2022-08-03 04:13:24

Al dTrain

I have not changed and prefer to not change Options > Advanced > Editing Options for the Enter key.

MULTIPLE CELLS SELECTED IN A SINGLE ROW
With cells B3:D3 selected, data entry using Enter as the completion key moves focus from cell-to-cell across the selection from left-to-right just like the tab key would.

MULTIPLE CELLS SELECTED IN MULTIPLE ROWS
With cells B6:D7 selected, data entry using Enter as the completion key moves focus from cell-to-cell in the selection first down down the column, and then over to the next column.

Is there some way to have the behavior of the Enter key with MULTIPLE CELLS SELECTED IN A SINGLE ROW work for MULTIPLE CELLS SELECTED IN MULTIPLE ROWS — without changing the Editing Options for the Enter key?


2021-01-16 10:16:51

J. Woolley

After clicking File on the menu, a new screen should appear and Options should be at the bottom-left corner of that screen.


2021-01-15 06:13:59

David McCarthy

Using Micosoft365. There isn't an Options feature under 'Fie' (that I can See).

What can I o to change behaviour after Enter pressed?

Thanks, David McCarthy (UK, Jan 2021)


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