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: Easily Entering Dispersed Data.

Easily Entering Dispersed Data

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 21, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


I needed to enter information into many rows of widely dispersed columns, like A, Q, BD, BJ, CF, etc. (I'm sure you get the idea.) I was right-arrowing along and I was thinking: if I were in Word I'd just set some tabs or bookmarks to move around quickly. What is the equivalent in Excel? A little delving into the Help files let me know that it's done like this:

  1. Decide which columns (or rows, or cells) in which you want to enter data.
  2. Highlight the column (or rows or cells).
  3. Choose Cells from the Format menu. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Protection tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Protection tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  6. Clear the Locked checkbox.
  7. Click on OK to close the dialog box.
  8. Repeat steps 2 through 6 for each column (or row or cell) in which you need to enter data.
  9. Choose Protection from the Tools menu, and then choose Protect Sheet from the submenu. Excel displays the Protect Sheet dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  10. Figure 2. The Protect Sheet dialog box.

  11. You do not need to change any information in the dialog box, nor enter a password. Just click on OK.

That's it! Excel will only let you go to cells that are still editable, and those are the ones for which you cleared the Lock property before you protected the sheet. Enjoy tabbing to the places on your worksheet that you need to.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3027) 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: Easily Entering Dispersed Data.

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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