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: Cell Movement After Enter.

Cell Movement After Enter

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 23, 2019)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


When you enter information in a cell, and then press the Enter key, Excel normally moves to the cell below the one in which you entered the information. You can configure Excel to move in a different direction after pressing Enter by following these steps:

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

  4. Make sure the Move Selection After Enter check box is selected.
  5. Use the Direction drop-down list to specify the direction that Excel should move.
  6. Click OK.

There is one interesting thing about how Excel selects a new cell: If you press Shift+Enter (instead of Enter) when entering data, then Excel selects the cell in the opposite direction of what you have specified in step 4. Thus, if the Direction drop-down list is set to Down, and you press Shift+Enter, then Excel actually moves the selection upwards.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2096) 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: Cell Movement After 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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