Saving Movement on Enter with a Workbook

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 14, 2019)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


Kathy uses several Excel workbooks daily. In some, she wants the cursor to move down after entering the data and in others she wants the cursor to move right. She wonders if there is a way to save the cursor direction with each individual workbook.

The direction in which the selected cell moves after you press Enter is determined on an application level by following these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left of the dialog box click Advanced. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Advanced options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  4. Under Editing Options, make sure that the checkbox for "After pressing Enter, move selection" is checked (it should be by default).
  5. Using the Direction drop-down list, change the direction as desired. Changing the direction affects how Excel behaves in all workbooks.
  6. Click on OK.

Since it is handled at an application level, the setting is not stored with individual workbooks. You can, however, create a macro that can be stored with the workbook, and the macro can modify the direction. Ideally, the macro would modify the direction when a workbook was activated and restore the direction when the workbook was deactivated—meaning, when a different workbook was activated, or the program exited.

Public MouseDirection As Long

Private Sub Workbook_Activate()
    MouseDirection = Application.MoveAfterReturnDirection
    Application.MoveAfterReturnDirection = xlToRight
End Sub
Private Sub Workbook_Deactivate()
    Application.MoveAfterReturnDirection = MouseDirection
End Sub

These are actually two macros and they should be added to the ThisWorkbook object in the VBA Editor. As shown, theWorkbook_Activate macro sets the direction to be towards the right after Enter is pressed. If you prefer, you could replace xlToRight with any of these: xlDown, xlUp, or xlToLeft.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13073) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365.

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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