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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 13, 2021)

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. ...

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