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. ...

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What is five more than 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.


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