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Change the Behavior of the Enter Key in Excel

Posted by Roger Hyttinen on

By default, pressing the Enter key in an Excel worksheet moves the selection down by one cell. This is handy when you enter in data vertically, moving downward a cell at a time. But what if you enter in data horizontally, moving right from row to row?

Luckily, you can easily change how Excel reacts when you press the Enter key from Excel Options. There are four selections to choose from:

  • Down
  • Right
  • Up
  • Left

Once you’ve changed the behavior of the Enter key, Excel will then move the selection in the direction that you’ve chosen. For instance, if set to “Left”, each time you tap the Enter key, Excel will move the selection one cell to the Left. You should set the behavior of the Enter key to match your own particular workflow.

Quick Guide: Change the Behavior of the Enter Key in Excel

  1. Click the File tab on the Ribbon.
  2. Click Options*.
  3. In the left pane, click Advanced
  4. Under the Editing Options area, click the Direction drop-down arrow and choose the direction in which to move the selection when tapping Enter.

    Click the Direction arrow in Excel Preferences
  5. When finished, click OK

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