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: Specifying the Behavior of the Enter Key.

Specifying the Behavior of the Enter Key

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 13, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


When you type information into a cell, it is normal to press the Enter key at the end of your entry. Excel allows you to specify exactly what should happen after you press Enter. Basically, you can specify that nothing happen (the cell into which you entered information remains the currently selected cell) or that a different, adjacent cell is automatically selected.

To make your specification, follow 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. Either select or clear the Move Selection After Enter check box, depending on whether you want the selection to move or not when pressing Enter.
  5. If you select the Move Selection After Enter check box, use the Direction drop-down list to specify the direction of the cell that should be selected.
  6. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2975) 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: Specifying the Behavior of the Enter 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Getting Context-Sensitive Help

Need help on a particular topic, dialog box, or command? You can use Excel's powerful help system to get just the ...

Discover More

Detailed Measurements

Want to know exactly how far something on the ruler is from the left and right margins of your document? It's easy to ...

Discover More

Changing the Maximum Undo Levels

Want to change the number of "undo" steps available when editing? You can't, because Word doesn't' really have a maximum. ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Changing Gridline Color

Gridlines are very helpful in seeing where cells are located on the screen. You are not limited to black gridlines; ...

Discover More

Controlling Display of the Formula Bar

The Formula Bar is a regularly used feature in the Excel interface. You can, however, modify whether Excel displays the ...

Discover More

Turning on Placeholders

A large number of graphics in a worksheet can slow down Excel. One way to compensate is to turn on picture placeholders, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is two less than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.