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: Easily Entering Dispersed Data.

Easily Entering Dispersed Data

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 31, 2020)

3

I needed to enter information into many rows of widely dispersed columns, like A, Q, BD, BJ, CF, etc. (I'm sure you get the idea.) I was right-arrowing along and I was thinking: if I were in Word, I'd just set some tabs or bookmarks to move around quickly. What is the equivalent in Excel? A little delving into the Help files let me know that it's done like this:

  1. Decide which columns (or rows, or cells) in which you want to enter data.
  2. Highlight the column (or rows or cells).
  3. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  4. Click Format (in the Cells group) and then choose Format Cells. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  5. Make sure the Protection tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Protection tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  7. Clear the Locked checkbox.
  8. Click on OK to close the dialog box.
  9. Repeat steps 3 through 7 for each column (or row or cell) in which you need to enter data.
  10. Again, display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  11. Click Format (in the Cells group) and then choose Protect Sheet. Excel displays the Protect Sheet dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  12. Figure 2. The Protect Sheet dialog box.

  13. Uncheck the Select Locked Cells checkbox. You do not need to enter a password or make any other changes in the dialog box.
  14. Click on OK.

That's it! Excel will only let you go to cells that are still editable, and those are the ones for which you cleared the Lock property before you protected the sheet. Enjoy tabbing to the places on your worksheet that you need to.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9364) 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: Easily Entering Dispersed Data.

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

When is Currency Not Currency?

One of the tools available for formatting cells is one called "Currency." This can be misleading, as it doesn't really ...

Discover More

Getting a Warning for Markup

Many people, when collaborating on a document with others, use the Track Changes feature to show the effects of their ...

Discover More

Counting Cells According to Case

Text placed in cells can either be lowercase, uppercase, or a mixture of the two. If you want to count the cells based ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Ensuring Rows and Columns are Empty

Before you go about deleting rows and columns helter-skelter, it is a good idea to determine if there is anything in the ...

Discover More

Recording a Data Entry Time

When entering information in a worksheet, it is common to also note a date or time corresponding to the entry. There are ...

Discover More

Inserting a Radical Symbol

The radical symbol is used frequently in some branches of mathematics. If you want to insert a radical symbol in a cell, ...

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 2 + 9?

2020-11-15 10:15:56

JMJ

Yes, I agree with JC: I certainly would have hidden the useless columns...


2020-11-02 10:44:10

JC

How about temporarily hiding columns that don't need data entry?


2020-10-31 19:06:10

Peter

A good and likely useful trick.
Depending on the nature of the model, you could just have a data entry tab and refer to the data entry cells by formula. This gives you the opportunity to modify the values as well, say, from imperial to metric or perhaps apply data validation.


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.