[Fixed!] Up and Down Arrows Not Working in Excel (8 Solutions)

The up and down arrows on your keyboard are the best way to navigate between cells when you’re working on an Excel spreadsheet. With these keys available in each direction, switching from one cell to another is simple and only requires pressing one key. These arrow keys in Excel sometimes stop working. In this article, we will see some easy solutions to up and down arrows not working in Excel.

In Excel, the arrow keys not working can be resolved more quickly than you might imagine. Most of the time, all it takes is one keystroke to make the keys do their intended function. This article will demonstrate how to fix Excel’s up and down arrow key issues with 8 possible solutions. So without further delay, let’s get started.

1. Turn Off Scroll Lock in Keyboard to Make Up and Down Arrows Work Again

If your keyboard’s scroll lock is on, you won’t be able to use the up and down arrows. Therefore, disabling your scroll lock is the first step in fixing arrow keys that won’t operate in Excel. Here, we will discuss two methods to turn off the scroll lock on the keyboard.

1.1 Use Keyboard Manually

If the light of the scroll lock button on the keyboard is on, then the up and down arrow keys will not work. Now, to solve this issue, simply press the Scroll lock key on a Windows PC to disable it.

We can find the scroll lock key in the control keys segment of a keyboard which is above the up and down arrow keys.

1.2 Apply On-Screen Keyboard

The majority of PCs today don’t have scroll locks on their keyboards. Nevertheless, you may disable the scroll lock without a keyboard.

There are keys available on the On-Screen Keyboard in Windows that are not present on the actual keyboard. Follow the steps below for using the On-Screen Keyboard to solve up and down arrow key problems.


  • In the beginning, search for and start On-Screen Keyboard from the Start menu.

up and down arrows not working in excel

  • Then, the On-Screen Keyboard will appear.
  • Subsequently, take a look at the On-Screen Keyboard‘s right side. There you can see all the lock keys.
  • If the scroll lock is activated, clicking the ScrLk key will disable it.

2. Enable Excel Sticky Keys Feature

Enabling the Sticky Keys capabilities on your Windows PC is another solution to the arrow keys not functioning in Excel issue. However, the arrow keys and your Excel application are not directly related to the Sticky Keys, but you can try toggling it to see whether that resolves the problem. To do so, follow the steps below.


  • First, open the Control Panel on your system by typing it in the search bar.

up and down arrows not working in excel

  • Secondly, click on the Ease of Access option.

up and down arrows not working in excel

  • Thirdly, select the Ease of Access Center.

up and down arrows not working in excel

  • Fourthly, click on the Make the keyboard easier to use option. Whereas, some operating systems may require you to click Change how your keyboard works before showing this section.

up and down arrows not working in excel

  • In the end, activate the checkbox that reads Turn on Sticky Keys. Select OK.

  • On the other hand, to activate Sticky Keys, quickly press the Shift key five times.
  • Finally, click Yes in the pop-up dialog window.

3. Disable Excel Scroll Lock to Enable Up and Down Arrow Keys

Try a fast test to determine if your arrow keys are functioning in other apps if your Excel arrow keys aren’t moving cells. If so, Excel itself may be the problem.

Excel includes a built-in Scroll Lock feature also. If it’s on, that could be the cause of your cursor not moving in Excel. Fortunately, fixing it is rather simple. The steps to do so are below.


  • In the first place, open a fresh or previously saved spreadsheet after launching Microsoft Excel.
  • After that, right-click the Status bar, which is located at the bottom of your worksheet. Look for options like the zoom slider and Page Layout if you’re having difficulties finding it.
  • Then, locate Scroll Lock in the Status bar menu.
  • If the feature is marked as On, click it once to deactivate it.

up and down arrows not working in excel

4. Exit Formula Entry Mode in Excel

You might be in Excel’s formula entering mode if you notice that your up and down arrow keys aren’t moving.

This indicates that you first started typing a function after selecting a cell and typing ‘=’ just like the screenshot below.

up and down arrows not working in excel

If you hit an arrow key, in this case, the formula’s selected cell will change, but it won’t move the worksheet’s cursor. In the picture below we can see that after pressing the Up arrow key the selected cell of the formula is changed from C5 to C4.

up and down arrows not working in excel

Therefore, press Enter, followed by Ctrl-Z to undo the formula and leave entering mode, bringing back the arrows. Now, the arrow keys will work properly.

Read More: [Fixed!]: Arrow Keys Not Moving Between Cells in Excel 

5. Unfreeze Excel Rows and Columns

You might think that the arrow keys have stopped functioning if you’re viewing cells contained within a collection of frozen rows or columns. If you want to Unfreeze the rows or columns then go to the View tab > Freeze Panes > Unfreeze Panes.

up and down arrows not working in excel

6. Disable Excel Add-Ins

Although Excel add-ins are helpful, they can occasionally pose issues when using the program. If you want to use the Excel arrow key scroll, you might have to disable any Excel Add-ins that you’ve previously installed. By following the actions below, you may easily disable Excel Add-ins.


  • First, open Excel on your computer.
  • Then, go to the File menu.

up and down arrows not working in excel

  • Next, click on Options.

up and down arrows not working in excel

  • After that, select Add-ins > Manage > Excel Add-ins > Go.

See the screenshot below for a better understanding.

  • Now, uncheck all the Add-ins available and then click OK.

Note: You can use the same procedures to re-enable the add-ins in the Add-ins dialog box if the arrow keys begin functioning again.

7. Up & Down Arrow Keys May Not Function for Protected Excel Worksheets

If your worksheet is protected or locked, it will be similar to the frozen panes in that you won’t be able to choose or navigate between cells or use the arrow keys throughout the worksheet. In such cases, you must unprotect the Excel sheet to use arrow keys on the sheet. Steps to unprotect an Excel worksheet are below.


  • Firstly, go to the Review tab and select the Unprotect Sheet from the Protect group.

up and down arrows not working in excel

  • Now, a window named Unprotect Sheet will pop up.
  • Next, type the Password in the box which you used for protecting the worksheet.
  • Finally, click OK.

Read More: Excel Not Scrolling with Arrow Keys 

8. Update Keyboard Drivers to Fix Issues with Up and Down Arrow Keys

Outdated keyboard drivers are another factor contributing to your arrow keys not functioning. Consequently, updating your drivers may solve the issue.


  • To update the keyboard drivers, at first, search for the Run See the picture below for a better understanding of the process.

up and down arrows not working in excel

  • Now, the Run command will open.
  • At this time, type ‘devmgmt.msc’ in the Open box and press Enter.

up and down arrows not working in excel

  • After that, double-click on the Keyboards in the Device Manager control panel.
  • Next, right-click the ‘HID Keyboard Device’ and choose ‘Update driver’ afterward.
  • Finally, click the ‘Search automatically for updated driver software’ option and wait for the update to finish.

Note: In our case, the ‘HID Keyboard Device’ is not available in the Keyboards tree. So we could not show you the following process by inserting screenshots.


I hope the above methods will be helpful for you to fix the problems when up and down arrows are not working in Excel. Let us know your feedback in the comment section. Goodbye!

Related Articles

<< Go Back to Scrolling in Excel | Navigation in Excel | Learn Excel

Get FREE Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions!
Sagufta Tarannum
Sagufta Tarannum

Sagufta Tarannum, holding a BSc in Naval Architecture & Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, contributes significantly as an Excel & VBA Content Developer at ExcelDemy. Fueled by a deep interest in research and innovation, she actively engages with Excel. In her role, Sagufta not only skillfully addresses challenging issues but also demonstrates enthusiasm and expertise in gracefully navigating intricate situations, underscoring her unwavering commitment to consistently delivering exceptional content. Her interests are Advanced... Read Full Bio

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions PDF