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: Disabling the F1 Key.

Disabling the F1 Key

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 16, 2015)

The F1 key is used to summon forth Excel's help system. Depending on how you type, you may find the F1 key bothersome. For instance, if you meant to press F2 to edit the contents of a cell, but you instead press F1, this can throw a real crimp in your editing stride. For this reason, you may look for an easy way to disable the F1 key.

One definitely low-tech solution is to simply remove the key. They F1 keycap, on most keyboards used with desktop systems, is relatively easy to remove. If it is a bit stubborn, you may need to slip the edge of a small screwdriver under the cap to help pry it loose.

If you don't like doing this type of keyboard surgery, you can disable the key through the use of a macro. This macro could be included in your Personal workbook file, as a part of the Open event, so that it runs every time that Excel is started. The macro should contain a single command:

Application.OnKey "{F1}", ""

The OnKey method is only triggered, in this case, when the F1 key is pressed. This usage results in the F1 key being ignored. If you wanted the F1 key to run some different procedure, you could use it as follows:

Application.OnKey "{F1}", "MyProcedure"

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2089) 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: Disabling the F1 Key.

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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