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Tab Key Jumps a Screen at a Time

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Tab Key Jumps a Screen at a Time.

In Excel, different keys have different purposes when it comes to navigating around your worksheet. Normally, when you press the Tab key you will notice that Excel moves the cell cursor one column to the right. Not all spreadsheet programs behave this way, however. For instance, when you press the Tab key in Lotus 1-2-3, the cell cursor jumps a full screen to the right, instead of a single column.

Excel, in its efforts to make life easier on people who are just changing to the program, will emulate the navigation keys used by Lotus 1-2-3. If you press the Tab key in Excel, and the cell cursor jumps one screen to the right, then your system is using the navigation emulator instead of the native Excel navigation keys. To change back to the Excel defaults, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Transition tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Transition tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Clear the Transition Navigation Keys check box.
  5. Click on OK.

That's it. Your Tab key should now work as expected, moving one column to the right each time you press it.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2747) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Tab Key Jumps a Screen at a Time.

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Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!


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