How to Use Navigation Keys in Excel (6 Examples with Shortcuts)

Undoubtedly, we’ve all used Microsoft Excel at some point in our lives. Now, to improve our productivity and time management when working in Excel, we’ll have to improve the actions we perform most often in Excel, that is to say, navigating around the worksheets and selecting cells. Keeping this in mind, in this tutorial, we’ll take a deep dive into how to use navigation keys in Excel. In addition, we’ll also discuss how to fix the issue of navigation keys not working.

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6 Examples of Using Navigation Keys in Excel

First and foremost, let’s assume the Sales Dataset in the B4:E15 cells containing the “Week” and “Sales Quantity” columns for 3 laptop models respectively. In this scenario, we want to demonstrate how to use navigation keys in Excel and navigate around this dataset using various keyboard shortcuts.

Dataset for navigation keys in excel

Here, we have used the Microsoft Excel 365 version; you may use any other version according to your convenience.

1. Navigating Within Excel Cells

First of all, let’s begin with the fundamentals of navigating within the cells in an Excel spreadsheet. Now, we’ve provided a carefully curated list of shortcuts in the table below, to move across the cells in Excel

Keys Action
Left, Right, Up, and Down Arrow Moves by one cell in the direction of the arrow
CTRL + Arrow Key Moves to the boundary of the dataset
SHIFT + Arrow Key Selects one cell in the direction of the arrow
CTRL + SHIFT + Arrow Key Selects all the non-blank cells in the direction of the arrow
Tab Shifts to the right by one cell
Shift + Tab Shifts to the left by one cell
Home Jumps to the start of the row
CTRL + Home Moves to the first cell (A1) of the worksheet
End Goes to the next blank cell in the row
CTRL + End Proceeds to the last unused cell at the bottom
Page Up Moves up by one page/screen
Page Down Goes down by one page/screen
ALT + Page Up Scrolls to the left by one unit of screen
ALT + Page Down Scrolls to the right by one unit of screen

In this case, the figure below depicts the directional Arrow Keys (Up, Down, Left, and Right) that are needed to navigate the cells in the worksheet.

Navigating within Excel Cells using arrow keys

Now, imagine a situation where you have hundreds of rows in your dataset, and you need to jump from the first to the last row. Fortunately, Excel’s plethora of shortcuts has you covered so, let’s navigate from the top to the bottom row in the blink of an eye!

📌 Steps:

  • First, go to the B5 cell which is the first row of the table >> press CTRL + Down Arrow keys (🔽).

Using keyboard shortcut to move to end of row

Voila! That is how simple and easy it is to move to the last row.

Active Cell moved to last row

At this point, you can follow the steps in the animated GIF below.

navigation keys in excel within cells

Now, apply the other shortcuts from the list and let us know in the comments below.

Read More: [Fixed] Excel Navigation Arrow Keys Not Working

2. Moving Across the Selected Ranges

Additionally, we can navigate across a selection of cells using the keys listed in the table below.

Keys Action
Tab Shifts to the right/down by one cell in the selected cells
SHIFT + Tab Moves to the left/up in the selected range
ENTER Proceeds from top to bottom by one cell in the selected cells
SHIFT + ENTER Jumps from bottom to top

On this occasion, let’s learn to select a range of cells and then move across them using the shortcuts we’ve learned thus far.

📌 Steps:

  • In the first place, navigate to the B5 cell >> press CTRL + SHIFT + Down Arrow keys (🔽).

Moving Across the Selected Ranges

  • Next, click the Tab key on the on-screen keyboard as shown below.

Pressing Tab key

Eventually, this moves the cursor down by one cell from the top.

Active cell moves within selection

Moreover, we can observe the steps in real time in the GIF below.

navigation keys in excel within selected cells

3. Navigating Throughout Worksheets

Besides, we may need to switch worksheets while working with Excel. Luckily, there are shortcuts to switch to the next and the previous worksheets.

Keys Action
CTRL + Page Down Navigates to the following worksheet
CTRL + Page Up Moves to the preceding worksheet

In this case, the GIF below shows the steps to switch between the two worksheets.

navigation keys in excel throughout worksheets

Read More: How to Navigate Between Sheets in Excel (8 Easy Methods)

4. Utilizing Scroll Lock Feature

Furthermore, another nifty feature of Excel is the Scroll Lock option which allows us to scroll large spreadsheets without having to lose track of the active cell.

Keys Action
Scroll Lock then, Up/Down Arrow Shifts up/down by one row
Scroll Lock then, Left/Right Arrow Moves left/right by a unit row
Scroll Lock then, CTRL + Left/Right Arrow Navigates left/right by one window
Scroll Lock + CTRL + Arrow Keys Scrolls across large distances

📌 Steps:

  • Initially, hit the Scroll Lock button to enable this feature.

📃 Note: As a note, when Scroll Lock is enabled, the text “Scroll Lock” appears in the Status Bar.

Utilizing Scroll Lock Feature to Navigate

  • In turn, press the CTRL + Right Arrow (➡) key as shown in the image below.

Navigating with Scroll Lock enabled

  • Not long after, the screen moves to the right side by one page.

  • In addition to this, see the steps in the GIF for a live demonstration.

navigation keys in excel with Scroll Lock

Read More: How to Navigate Large Excel Spreadsheets (10 Useful Techniques)

5. Employing Scroll Bars

Alternatively, we can also employ the Scroll Bars to navigate through rows and columns in an Excel worksheet.

Keys Action
Left Scroll BarRight Scroll Bar Moves across one column left or right
Up Scroll BarBottom Scroll Bar Shifts through one row up or down
Horizontal Scroll BarVertical Scroll Bar Dragging the horizontal and vertical scroll bars scrolls through large distances
Mouse Wheel Moving the mouse wheel forward or backward scrolls up or down

Apart from this, the animated GIF below also shows the above steps.

navigation keys in excel with Scroll Bars

6. Applying Mouse Wheel to Scroll and Zoom

For one thing, we can also control various other aspects of zooming and scrolling in Excel with the help of the Mouse Wheel, as shown below.

Keys Action
CTRL + SHIFT + Mouse Wheel Moves the window to the left or right
Click Mouse Wheel Pan across the spreadsheet
CTRL + Mouse Wheel Zooms in or out of the worksheet

📌 Steps:

  • To begin with, hold down the CTRL button >> move the Mouse Wheel forward.

Applying Mouse Wheel to Scroll and Zoom

Subsequently, this increases the zoom to “115%” as shown by the Zoom Indicator.

Zoomed in

Furthermore, if you wish, you may follow the steps in real time from the GIF below.

navigation keys in excel using mouse wheel

What to Do If Navigation Keys Are Not Working in Excel

Last but not least, have you faced a scenario where the navigation keys don’t work? Then, you’re in luck, since the following section describes how to fix this issue. Now, allow us to demonstrate the process in the steps below.

📌 Steps:

  • At the very beginning, check whether the Scroll Lock option is active, as indicated in Excel’s Status Bar.

📃 Note: Now, if the Scroll Lock is on, then a light corresponding to it glows on the keyboard.

What to Do If Navigation Keys Are Not Working in Excel

Consequently, the GIF below shows the problem when the Scroll Lock is on, while switching it off resumes the normal behavior of the navigation keys.

Fixing navigation keys in excel

Admittedly, we’ve skipped some of the relevant ways to fix navigation keys not working, which you may explore if you wish.


To sum up, we hope this article helps you understand the basics of how to use navigation keys in Excel. Now, if you have any queries, please leave a comment below. And, you can read more articles like this on our website, ExcelDemy.

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Eshrak Kader

Eshrak Kader

Hello! Welcome to my Profile. I completed my BSc. at Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology from the Department of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering. Currently, I am conducting research & posting articles related to Microsoft Excel. I am passionate about research & development and finding innovative solutions to problems.

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