Keyboard Shortcuts for Moving around Excel Spreadsheets

We shall discuss here the various ways and keyboard shortcuts to move the cells in an Excel Spreadsheet.

Every Excel worksheet/spreadsheet consists of columns and rows. Columns are labeled from A to XFD and rows range from number 1 to 1,048,576. Columns are labeled like this: After column Z comes column AA, then AB, AC, and so on. After column AZ comes to BA, then BB, BC, BD and so on. After column ZZ is AAA, then AAB, and so on. There are keyboard shortcuts to move around rows, columns, and cells.

Know about cell before knowing keyboard shortcuts for moving it around Excel Spreadsheet

The intersection of a row and a column is a single cell. Each cell has a unique address made up of its column letter and row number. For example, the address of the first cell is A1. Remember column letter will come first and row number will be placed second in a cell’s address. An Excel 2013 spreadsheet is made up of more than 17 billion cells. The address of the last cell in an excel spreadsheet is XFD1048576.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Moving around Excel Spreadsheets

Highlighted Last Cell in an Excel Spreadsheet. Address of last cell is XFD1048576.

Commands to find the last cell

Find the last row with this command: End →Down Arrow(↓), then find the last column with this command: End →Right Arrow(→), you will reach the last cell.

When you open an Excel spreadsheet, you will find one cell is selected with darker borders. This is the active cell. If you have created the spreadsheet just now, active cell will be A1 by default. If you have opened an existing spreadsheet, active cell will be the last cell you selected before saving and closing the spreadsheet.

Active cell means that it is active now if you enter something from your keyboard, it will accept. If there were something in the active cell, it will be deleted if you enter something this way.

Row and column headings of the active cell appear in a different color to make it easier to identify the row and column of the active cell.

Moving around Excel Spreadsheet with your keyboard

We shall use the standard navigational keys on our keyboard to move around a worksheet. The down arrow key moves the active cell down one row, the up arrow key moves the active cell one row, the right arrow moves the active cell one column to the right, and so on. Pg Up and Pg Dn move the active cell up or down one full window.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Moving around Excel Spreadsheets

Navigation Keys

Tip: If you turn on Scroll Lock key in your keyboard and scroll through the worksheet, then the position of the active cell will not be changed. If your keyboard does not show any Scroll Lock key, then go to start menu, then Accessories, then choose Ease of Access, then click to select On-screen keyboard and select ScrLk key in the keyboard. When Scroll Lock is turned on, Excel displays Scroll Lock in the status bar at the bottom of the window.

If your Num Lock is on, the navigation keys(arrows) on your numeric keypad generate numbers. When the Num Lock is off, then the navigation keys on numeric keypad behaves like navigation keys. Many keyboards have a separate set of navigation (arrow) keys located to the left of the numeric keypad. These navigation keys’ functionality does not depend on Num Lock key’s state(whether it is on or off.)

TABLE: Worksheet’s Active Cell Movement Keys

KeyActive Cell Movement
Up Arrow(↑)Moves the active cell up by one row
Down Arrow(↓)Moves the active cell down by one row
Left arrow(←) or Shift+TabMoves the active cell one column to the left
Right arrow(→) or TabMoves the active cell one column to the right
PgUpMoves the active cell up by one screen
PgDnMoves the active cell down by one screen
Alt+PgUpMoves the active cell left by one screen
Alt+PgDnMoves the active cell right by one screen
Ctrl+BackspaceScrolls the screen so that the active cell is visible
↑*Scrolls the screen up by one row (active cell position is not changed)
↓*Scrolls the screen down one row (active cell position is not changed)
←*Scrolls the screen left one column (active cell position is not changed)
→*Scrolls the screen right one column (active cell position is not changed)

*With Scroll Lock on

Navigating Excel worksheet with mouse

If you want to change the active cell by using your mouse, just click another cell, and it becomes now the active cell. If your desired cell isn’t visible in the excel spreadsheet window, you can use the scrollbars to scroll the window in any direction to reach your desired cell. To scroll one cell, click either of the arrows on the scrollbar. To scroll by a complete screen, click either side of the scrollbar’s scroll box(remember, it is not the arrow of the scrollbar, it is scroll box). You can also drag the scroll box for faster scrolling.

Tip: If your mouse has a wheel, you can use the mouse wheel to scroll vertically or horizontally. For this you have to click the wheel, hold it, and move the mouse in any direction, the worksheet scrolls automatically in that direction. The more you move the mouse, the faster will be the scrolling.

If you want to zoom in or zoom out the spreadsheet, press CTRL and move the mouse wheel up or down. If you want to zoom in or out the spreadsheet without pressing CTRL, go File⇒ Options in your worksheet and then select ‘Advanced’ section. Place a right click next to the ‘Zoom on roll with IntelliMouse’ checkbox.

If you use the scrollbars to scroll or you scroll with the mouse in the worksheet, the active cell doesn’t change. It simply scrolls the worksheet. Click a new cell after scrolling if you want to change the active cell.

Read More…

Understanding Excel spreadsheets

Navigating Excel Table: Selecting Parts of a Table and Moving a Table


Hello! Welcome to my Excel blog! It took me some time to be a fan of Excel. But now I am a die-hard fan of MS Excel. I learn new ways of doing things with Excel and share here. Not only how to guide on Excel, but you will get also topics on Finance, Statistics, Data Analysis, and BI. Stay tuned!

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