The Excel Skinny

A blog about Excel and its users

As a daily Microsoft Excel user I make it a point to avoid using the mouse at all cost.  Not only does it slow you down but it often messes things up.  The mouse is a clumsy and ancient tool that is slowly going extinct.  What’s the cure? More keyboard!  


Today we will discuss the simplest of shortcut - how to edit a cell.  I know what you’re all thinking – just click on it.  Wrong!  Clicking on a cell and typing will delete anything already in the cell and overwrite it with your new inputs.  Well then why don’t we double-click it? Double-clicking will enable you to edit the data in the cell but it often places the cursor in random spots and is a precursor for mistakes.  


So what do we do? Use your keyboard of course  


Scroll to the cell you wish to edit with the arrow keys: 

Now that we have the cell we wish to edit active we can execute the shortcut to edit:



This brings us into the active cell and places the cursor at the end of all the data.  From here we can scroll and make our modifications:

With one click of the Enter key the changes are saved in the active cell.  

And there you have it, another simple one modifier key shortcut that aids in the war against the mouse.  Once you start using the Edit Active Cell shortcut you’ll never double click another cell again.  

Scroll to display active cell

When you start working with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that have data filled in through the BA column you know how difficult it is to find the cell you have selected.  Thankfully MS Excel for Mac has provided a shortcut that scrolls to your active cell so you never get lost in the sea of data again. 

Step 1: The purpose of this shortcut is to be able to find your selected cell without having to search the spreadsheet manually.  Therefore a selected cell is required.  This is a tricky shortcut to explain but first we will select a cell, then we will scroll away from it.  Here we go:


I have selected 3B.  Now I am going to scroll so it is not on my screen:

3B is no longer visible so we need to execute the shortcut to scroll back to 3B.  The shortcut can be found on the “delete” key and is written in yellow as “Display Active Cell.”  The yellow text corresponds to only 1 modifier key, the “control” key.  Our shortcut is:


After executing this shortcut Microsoft Excel scrolls to my active cell. 

One thing to remember with this shortcut is you have to keep the initial active cell active, meaning you cannot click any other cells while scrolling through your spreadsheet.  If you do click a different cell, the active cell we had in the beginning is no longer active, and this shortcut will not scroll you back to it.