Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 18, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021
If Leo clicks on a cell that contains a formula (in order to select that cell), Excel immediately jumps to the cell to which the formula refers, even if that cell is on another worksheet. This obviously makes it very hard for Leo to select cells. He doesn't understand why Excel is doing this, nor does he know how to turn it off.
There are a number of reasons that Leo is experiencing this issue, and it is unclear (from the description) exactly what the cause could be. This means, then, that Leo must engage in a bit of detective work to see what is causing the issue.
The first thing to check is whether this is happening in all workbooks on the system. If the problem is with a single workbook, then it probably means there is some sort of a macro in the workbook that is causing the behavior. You can either save the workbook as a non-macro-enabled workbook (XLSX) or try to track down the macro. If you choose the latter route, then a good place to start is by right-clicking the worksheet tab and seeing if there is any event handler code that is causing the issue.
If the problem is, instead, with all workbooks on the system, then the cause and solution has to do with how Excel is configured. Before checking the configuration, however, make sure that you are really just single-clicking a cell rather than double-clicking. It can be easy to double-click when you are thinking you are single-clicking, but Excel can behave very differently based on the number of clicks.
Figure 1. The advanced options of the Excel Options dialog box.
This option (step 4) controls what happens when you double-click on a cell that contains a formula. If the option is selected, then double-clicking allows you to edit the cell directly. If the option is cleared, then double-clicking takes you to one of the cells referenced in the formula—just like Leo is describing.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12911) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.
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