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: Canceling an Edit.

Canceling an Edit

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 17, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


As you are entering information in a cell, you may want to cancel what you are entering. For instance, you may have selected the wrong cell before you started typing, and you want to "back out" of the edit you are making.

There are two ways you can do this. The first is to simply press the Esc key and the other is to click on the X just to the left of the Formula bar. (In Excel 2007 and Excel 2010 the X only appears after you start typing. In Excel 2013 and later versions the X is always visible, but it is only clickable after you start typing.) Regardless of the method you choose, Excel undoes your changes and returns the cell to its state just before you started typing.

If you make a mistake and press Enter, Excel replaces the contents of the cell with whatever you were typing. To undo this, you should use the Undo feature of Excel: simply press Ctrl+Z or click on the Undo tool at the top-left corner of the program window.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10630) 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: Canceling an Edit.

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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