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: Switching Editing Location.

Switching Editing Location

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 10, 2019)

1

Nick knows that he can edit the contents of a cell either in the Formula bar or directly in the cell itself. He wonders if there is a way, while editing, to switch where the editing is taking place. For instance, if Nick is editing directly in a cell and he decides that he would rather be editing in the Formula bar (or vice versa), he would like to press a key to switch to the same exact place in the opposite editing location.

Excel does not provide a way to switch from one location to the other, nor can you set up a macro to do the switching for you. The reason is because of the three major modes that Excel uses—Navigation mode, Enter or Point (depending on which version of Excel you are using) mode, and Edit mode.

Navigation mode is when you can do things like use the arrow keys to move around the worksheet. When you press a shortcut key (either built-in or defined by you), Excel runs the command or macro associated with that shortcut.

Enter or Point mode is entered as you start typing something into a cell. You can use the arrow keys to move around the worksheet in this mode.

Edit mode is entered by pressing F2 or by double-clicking on a cell. When you are in edit mode, key presses don't work the same way as when you are in navigation mode. For instance, the right-arrow key doesn't move you to the cell to the right, it moves you a single character to the right within the cell contents. Similarly, you can't press a shortcut key to initiate a macro while you are in edit mode.

Because of these operational modes, the only way to switch your editing location when you are in edit mode (already editing cell contents) is to click the mouse pointer in the other location. Thus, if you were editing directly in the cell, you could click within the Formula bar to start editing there, and vice versa.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10202) 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: Switching Editing Location.

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

Changing Strikethrough Lines

Want to change the way a strikethrough line appears? It's not as easy as you think, as you find out in this tip.

Discover More

Formatting Endnote Reference Marks

The reference marks used for endnotes are, by default, formatted "good enough" for most people. If you are one of those ...

Discover More

Floating Footer

Need some specific text to appear just below the end of the text on the last page of your document? You can accomplish ...

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)

Pasting Leading Zeroes

Paste information into a worksheet, and you may be surprised to see leading zeroes disappear before your eyes. Here's how ...

Discover More

Converting Text to Values

When you import information originating in a different program, Excel may not do the best job at figuring out what ...

Discover More

Trimming Off All Spaces

The easy way to get rid of spaces at the beginning or end of a cell's contents is to use the TRIM function. ...

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 minus 4?

2019-08-12 05:31:36

Alan

F2 also toggles between edit and navigation mode. One of the frustrating things when you're still getting used to Excel, is you press the cursor expecting to move along the formula you're editing, only for it to then enter a cell reference. Pressing F2 will enable cursor movement within the formula.


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.