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: Weird Actions for Arrow Keys and Enter.

Weird Actions for Arrow Keys and Enter

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 31, 2017)


Roberta wrote to say that her arrow keys and Enter key were not working as she expected in Excel. It seems that they didn't move to the next cell, as she expected, but moved to the "next page."

Without a complete examination of the system, this could be caused by any number of conditions. First, if the worksheet is protected in some manner, it could be that the keys are working exactly as they should. What could be happening is that the next unprotected cell—where you enter your input—is being selected, and that cell happens to be on the next page.

If the problem occurs in brand new, blank worksheets, it could be due to a macro that is running when you first start Excel. If you start Excel without any add-ins or hidden workbooks, it may solve the problem. (The online help system, as well as past issues of ExcelTips, includes information on how to start Excel so that add-ins and hidden workbooks don't load.)

You could also check the status of your Scroll Lock key. If it is selected (a light on your keyboard should indicate if it is), then Excel can appear to do some very funny things when it comes to moving from cell to cell.

Finally, make sure that you check the configuration settings within Excel that control how the Enter key works. You get to these by choosing Tools | Options and clicking on the Edit tab. The Move Selection After Enter setting controls what happens whenever you press Enter.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2071) 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: Weird Actions for Arrow Keys and Enter.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 1 + 5?

2017-11-02 07:07:18


Thank you for your article!
The solution which worked for me was the "Scroll Lock" one.
I accidentally hit that key and the arrows acted exactly as you described!

2013-09-19 03:48:07


On Dell laptops, Do this,

Fn Key(Next to Windows button) + F5 ( Where you see little lock with a down arrow)

2013-05-02 08:41:45


On a Mac, The scroll lock is Command F14

This has been driving me crazy for months. Thanks for the explanation.

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