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: Sequentially Inputting Information.

Sequentially Inputting Information

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 8, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


It is not unusual to need to enter a series of numbers within a range of worksheet cells. For instance, you may need to enter a series of numbers in the first five columns of a particular row, or you may need to enter information just in a range of ten cells in a particular column.

To sequentially enter information in a range of cells, you should first select the cells. Notice that Excel leaves the top-left cell in the range as the input cell (it is white and outlined). The rest of the cells in the range are shaded, to show that they are selected.

Now all you need to do is start entering numbers. When you do, the value you enter is entered into the input cell. When you press Enter at the end of the value, Excel saves the value and moves the input cell to the next cell in the selected range. Excel will move the input cell either left to right, top to bottom or top to bottom, left to right.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2577) 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: Sequentially Inputting Information.

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 6 + 3?

2024-04-27 16:11:49


You can do more if you like.

First, the range selected need not be contiguous. So it could be E9, F6, H3, B5, aand F11.

Second, you can move using either Enter or Tab. And move in reverse with either key in combo with Shift.

Third, you can create such ranges in probably many ways, but the absolute simplest is putting a formula in a cell like this one:


(It can take ranges like A1:A5, Named Ranges, and so on. Haven't ever tried it with LET or other such things, but maybe some interesting features there too.)

Double-click on the cell with the formula and the range is selected. And movement will start in the first reference, then follow the order in the formula.

It will even open other spreadsheets and load the range.

It will not go to a cell twice. So listing a cell a second time, even if not directly but inside a range referece, say, will not get you there twice.

You can build the formula rather than write it by clicking the cells one by one, typing a comma between each, until done.

It uses whatever your similar delimiter is, so in Euroland, for example, broadly a semi-colon between references, not a comma.

It's great if you want to follow an ordser through cells, or if you want to leap away from where you were, but end up back there when finished with a string of entries, or simply looking at each cell content.

Excel used to have a limitation that I believe was a Windows problem at its root in that if you gave it a range like the above formula, it would actually start in the last cell show (F11 in the above) as if it were the first. Windows did a similarr thing in that selecting, say, three files to do something to/with/whatever, it took the last one first, then the rest in order. Excel fixed that some years back, but there might be older versions in use that still see it. And if my equating the two things is on target, maybe it was that Windows fixed it, and in that case, even a modern Excel version might still see it happen if using an older Windows version. If it does, simply list the desired starting reference last...

If you give such a listing of references an appropriately Named Range, you can actually wander as you'd like, then type, say, "=EntryForm" into some cell you're near that is conveniently empty, or even add a worksheet and enter it (so cleanup after your session isn't hunting for those cells you used over the last two hours, but just deleting your scratch page), then double-click it and bang, you're back at the data entry form. Or whatever the range was.

Good, by the way, if yourr boss set data up to be entered in some order that made sense to him, but ain't really good for you. Just set it up so the order of cells matches YOUR workflow and you don't need Bob as your uncle.

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