Scrolling in Excel (Options, Smooth Scrolling, Scroll Lock, Custom Scroll Bar, Issues, Etc.)

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Scrolling in Excel means moving up, down, left, or right in your spreadsheet. You can do this by using the mouse, arrow keys, or scroll bars.

If your worksheet data is too large to fit on the screen, scrolling helps you move along the whole worksheet to see the hidden parts. It helps you to analyze, edit, and manage data efficiently.

In this article, you will learn about scrolling in Excel.

The following image shows briefly how you can scroll in your worksheet.

Overview of scrolling in Excel

After reading this blog post, you will learn about all the scrolling options, the Scroll Lock feature, and Smooth Scrolling feature of Excel.

You will also learn how to

– Scroll one row at a time
– Scroll 2 workbook simultaneously
– Freeze selected rows and columns while scrolling
– Limit scroll area
– Create a custom scroll bar

Lastly, we have discussed 2 common issues you may face while scrolling in Excel.

Note: While writing this article, we applied all procedures using Excel for Microsoft 365.

Scrolling Options
What Is Smooth Scrolling
Scroll Lock Feature
Scrolling One Row at a Time
Scrolling 2 Workbooks Simultaneously
How to Repeat Rows When Scrolling
Limiting Scroll Area
Creating a Custom Scrollbar
Scrolling Issues
Knowledge Hub

Excel Scrolling Options for Vertical and Horizontal Scrolling

To do scrolling in Excel, you have the following 3 options at your hand.

    1. Arrow keys (Up, Down, Left & Right) on your keyboard
    2. Vertical and horizontal scrollbars
    3. Mouse wheel (for vertical scrolling only)

1. Scrolling Using the Arrow Keys

  • To scroll up, select a cell => Press the Up Arrow (↑)
  • To scroll down, select a cell => press the Down Arrow (↓)
  • Similarly use the Right or Left arrow keys to scroll in those directions.

2. Scrolling Using the Vertical and Horizontal Scrollbars

Click and hold the left mouse button on the vertical or horizontal scroll bar, then move it in the desired direction to scroll through the dataset.

Take a look at the following video for a better understanding.

3. Using the Mouse Wheel

Turn the mouse wheel inward to scroll down and outward to scroll up.

What Is Smooth Scrolling in Excel?

Smooth scrolling means scrolling the spreadsheet smoothly and gradually rather than jumping from one cell to another.

In the older versions of Excel, before 2021, when you used the horizontal or vertical scrollbar, it jumped from one cell to the next. That got annoying, especially with super-wide rows and columns. You’d scroll, and suddenly, a whole column or row would disappear, making it a hassle to follow your data smoothly.

But now, with the newer versions (an update in 2021 and Excel 365) and their smooth scrolling feature, it’s much easier. It’s like a smooth ride through your spreadsheet.

Smooth scrolling in Excel

Mimicking Smooth Scrolling in Older Versions:

Even if you don’t have Excel 2021 or Excel for Microsoft 365, you can still mimic smooth scrolling by using the scroll wheel of your mouse.

Just press the mouse wheel once and hover your mouse in the direction you want to scroll the worksheet. You can follow the GIF image given below.

Mimic smooth scrolling by using the scroll wheel

Scroll Lock – Scrolling with Arrow Keys Without Moving the Active Cell

Using the Scroll Lock feature on the status bar, you can control whether the arrow keys move the active cell while scrolling the entire worksheet.

When Scroll Lock is turned on, you can scroll the sheet using arrow keys without changing the active cell.

How to Turn On/Off Scroll Lock Feature?

To turn on the scroll lock feature, right-click on the status bar => find the option Scroll Lock => and click on the Scroll Lock option if found unmarked.

Unmark the Scroll Lock feature

To turn the Scroll Lock off, simply unmark the command again from the status bar.

Scrolling Without Moving the Active Cell:

After you have turned on the Scroll Lock feature, if you scroll with arrow keys, you will not move from cell to cell.

Stopping the Arrow keys from scrolling in Excel

Note: You can also turn on or off the Scroll Lock feature by using the Scroll Lock key on your keyboard.

If not found on your keyboard, you can use the On-Screen keyboard of your Windows operating system.

How to Scroll One Row at a Time in Excel?

To scroll one row at a time, you can click the vertical scroll bar’s up and down arrows. Clicking once will scroll one row.

Dataset with built-in Vertical Scroll Bar Slider

Look at the following GIF image to see how to scroll one row at a time using a vertical scroll bar.

Scroll one Row at a time in Excel

Another way is changing the mouse settings.

To change mouse settings so that when you turn the scroll wheel, one row will be scrolled with one unit turn-

  • Go to Mouse settings from the Control Panel => Select the Change mouse settings option.

Click on the Change mouse settings option

  • The Mouse Properties window appears => Select Wheel tab => Insert 1 in The following number of lines at a time section.

Insertion 1 in the following number of lines at a time section

Now, when you rotate the scroll wheel you will see the effect, of scrolling one row at a time.

How to Simultaneously Scroll 2 Workbooks in Excel?

You can scroll 2 open workbooks at a time using the Synchronous Scrolling command of Excel.

  • Go to View tab => Window group => Select the View Side by Side

Select the View Side by Side feature

As a result, the Synchronous Scrolling command will be enabled automatically for both workbooks.

Opening workbooks on one screen

  • Now, select any cell from any workbook and scroll the mouse wheel.
Synchronous Scrolling in Excel

Click on the image for a clearer view

Note: To view and scroll the workbook files in this way, all the workbooks must be open and will not be minimized.

How to Repeat Rows When Scrolling in Excel?

In this section, you will learn how to make certain Excel rows and columns stay visible while scrolling. Use the Freeze Panes feature to lock the top rows, so they remain in view even when you scroll through your data table.

Let’s say you want to make rows 1 to 5 stay visible while scrolling.

Follow these steps:

  • Select row 6 => Go to the View tab => Window section => Click on the Freeze Panes drop-down => Freeze Panes.

Selection of the Freeze Panes feature

  • As a result, a gray-colored line will appear above row 6.
  • The rows above the line (rows 1-5) will repeat while scrolling.
  • Now, scroll down using the mouse wheel. We will get results like the following screenshot.

Repeat Rows When Scrolling in Excel

Note 1: To repeat only the first row or first column, go to View tab => Window => Click on the Freeze Panes drop-down => Freeze Top Row, or Freeze First Column.

Freezing or repeating the top row

Note 2: To freeze both a row and a column at the same time, choose the cell directly below the row and to the right of the column. Then, click on the “Freeze Panes” command.

How to Limit Scroll Area in Excel?

Limiting the Scroll Area in Excel means restricting scrolling to a set range. It helps you to focus on a certain part for better visibility.

There are 2 ways we can limit the scroll area in Excel.

  • Changing Worksheet Properties from the Developer Tab
  • Applying a VBA Code

1. Changing Worksheet Properties from the Developer Tab

  • Go to Developer tab => Controls => Properties.
  • After that, the Properties window pops up => Set scroll area in the ScrollArea. The range in my case is $A$1:$F$28.
  • Finally, click the Close (X) button to close the Properties.

Setting the limit of the scroll area

  • Your Excel sheet can no longer scroll beyond this range.

Using Developer Property command to limit scroll area

2. Applying a VBA Code

Here, this code will restrict the scroll area as set in the code. This restriction will be applied to every active sheet. Active sheet means on which sheet you are working now.

  • Go to the Developer tab => Visual Basic.

Selection of the Visual Basic command

  • After that, select Insert tab => Module.

Selection of the Module command

  • Then a VBA Module will be launched. In that module, enter the following code and run the macro.
Sub Limit_Scroll_Area()
Dim mtm As Worksheet
Set mtm = ActiveSheet
mtm.ScrollArea = "$A$1: $E$25"
End Sub

Copy and Paste VBA code in the Module

Creating a Custom Scrollbar Within a Sheet to Scroll Through Large Data

Suppose you have a worksheet with multiple datasets. If you scroll through the sheet to focus on a particular dataset, all other datasets will also be scrolled. However, suppose you don’t want this to happen.

In this case, you can create a custom scrollbar for that particular dataset only and scroll in that specific area, not in the whole worksheet.

To create a custom scrollbar for a dataset, add a scrollbar in a separate area using the Scroll Bar (Form Control) command from the Developer tab. Set the scroll area size, and link data from the original dataset to the new location using a formula. Follow these steps. Let’s say we will make a custom scroll bar for the following dataset with 31 rows, including column headings.

Overview of dataset

Follow these steps:

  • We generate a blank dataset with the same formatting and column headings.
  • From the “Scroll Bar” sheet, go to the Form Control menu and choose Developer => Insert => Scroll Bar.
  • Next, design the Scroll Bar and drag it to give it a vertical scrollbar shape.
Using Scroll Bar command to create scroll bar

Click here to enlarge the image

  • Next, right-click on the Scroll Bar and select Format Control from the Context Menu.
Selection of the Format Control feature

Click here to enlarge the image

  • After that, in the Format Control dialog box, insert the parameter properly. In our case,
    • Current Value: 0
    • Minimum Value: 0
    • Maximum Value: 20 (It is 20 in this case since we display 10 rows at a time. When the user enters the value 20 for the scroll bar, rows 20-29 are displayed)
    • Cell Link: $L$1
    • Other parameters are kept default values

The Scroll Bar is linked to the L1 cell. The value of this cell changes from 0 to 20 when you scroll down the custom bar.

Format Control dialog box

Click here to enlarge the image

  • Now, link the data by using the formula below in cell G6 (in the “Scroll Bar” sheet).
  • Copy this formula to the rest of the cells in the blank dataset.
AutoFill the OFFSET function

Click here to enlarge the image

Now scroll and see the magic.

Using a Customized Scroll Bar to scroll vertically in Excel

What Issues You May Face While Scrolling in Excel?

1. Horizontal or Vertical Scroll Bar Not Visible

The default Scroll Bars of an Excel workbook may not always be visible. Sometimes it can be accidentally disabled in the worksheet.

Please follow the steps below to resolve the problem.

  • Select File tab => Options.
  • Excel Options dialog box will pop up => Select the Advanced option => Scroll down and check both Show horizontal scroll bar and Show vertical scroll bar options under Display options for this workbook menu => OK.
  • After that, the Scroll Bars will display.

Checking both Show horizontal scroll bar and Show vertical scroll bar options

2. Mouse Wheel Zooming In or Out Instead of Scrolling

Normally, rolling the scroll wheel of a mouse scrolls through the Excel sheet. But if you use a Microsoft branded mouse or IntelliMouse, you need to ensure that the “Zoom on Roll with IntelliMouse” feature is disabled. Otherwise, it will zoom in or out of your Excel sheet instead of scrolling while you use the scroll wheel.

  • To disable the feature, just open the Excel Options window from the File menu and select the Advanced
  • Next, scroll down and uncheck the “Zoom on Roll with IntelliMouse” feature => Press OK.

Uncheck the Zoom on Roll with IntelliMouse feature

This will disable the feature, and you will be able to scroll with the IntelliMouse.

Note: If the problem persists, repair your Excel app from the Control Panel or update it.

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In the discussion above, you have learned all the scrolling options available in Excel. We have also covered the Smooth Scrolling which is comparatively a new feature in Excel 2021 or 365. You have also learned some scrolling tricks like synchronous scrolling, scrolling only one row at a time, or keeping some selected rows or columns frozen when scrolling. You also know now how to control the scroll area and how to create a custom scroll bar for a specific area in the worksheet. Lastly, we have discussed the common issues with scrolling in Excel.

Scrolling in Excel: Knowledge Hub

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Md. Abdur Rahim Rasel
Md. Abdur Rahim Rasel

MD. ABDUR RAHIM is a marine engineer proficient in Excel and passionate about programming with VBA. He views programming as an efficient means to save time while managing data, handling files, and engaging with the internet. His interests extend to Rhino3D, Maxsurf C++, AutoCAD, Deep Neural Networks, and Machine Learning, reflecting his versatile skill set. He earned a B.Sc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from BUET, and now he has become a content developer, creating technical content... Read Full Bio

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