Fixing a Numeric Keypad Key

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 24, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


Geraldine seems to have accidentally changed the functionality of the zero key on her numeric keypad. When she presses it now, she gets a cut/copy/paste menu instead of a zero. Geraldine has no idea why this is happening or how to fix it.

One of the frustrating things about some systems these days—particularly if you are using a laptop computer—is that there are a limited number of keyboard keys and a large number of purposes to which those keys can be put. For instance, if I look at the keyboard on my laptop, I see that the zero key on the numeric keyboard is also marked as "insert." Other keys include other alternative labels for other purposes.

The way you access these other functions is to hold down a modifier key, typically a key marked FN. So, for instance, if I want to access the "insert" function on the zero key on my laptop, I hold down FN as I press the zero key.

This is what it sounds like may be happening with Geraldine's system. Either the FN key is stuck or there is some sort of "lock" key that makes the FN key sticky. When engaged in this manner, the zero key is performing its alternative function. The solution is to turn off the FN key and then the zero key should work as expected.

If that doesn't do the trick, it could be that there is some program that is causing the key to behave differently. Check to see if there is some utility running in the background that maps the keys differently or close all your programs (except Excel) and see if the problem goes away. If so, then you'll know how to solve the issue—diable, quit, or turn off that other program.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13386) 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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