How to Make Arrow Keys Move Cells in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Arrow Keys Move Cells in Excel

To make arrow keys move cells in Excel, you need to adjust a simple setting. Instead of scrolling the sheet, your arrow keys will let you navigate from cell to cell. This involves turning off Scroll Lock on your keyboard or adjusting the Excel settings accordingly.

How to Make Arrow Keys Move Cells in Excel

Follow these steps to change how your arrow keys function in Excel and make them move from cell to cell instead of scrolling the entire sheet.

Step 1: Check the Scroll Lock Key

Step 1: Look at your keyboard to see if the Scroll Lock (ScrLk) key is activated.

If the Scroll Lock key is on, it will cause the arrow keys to scroll the entire sheet instead of moving between cells. Look for a light on your keyboard or a notification on your computer screen indicating that Scroll Lock is active.

Step 2: Turn Scroll Lock Off

Step 2: Press the Scroll Lock key to deactivate it.

Turning off Scroll Lock will allow your arrow keys to move cells instead of scrolling the sheet. You can usually find the Scroll Lock key on the upper right corner of your keyboard or by using the on-screen keyboard on your computer.

Step 3: Use the On-Screen Keyboard (If Needed)

Step 3: Open the on-screen keyboard if your physical keyboard doesn’t have a Scroll Lock key.

To access the on-screen keyboard, go to Start > Programs > Accessories > Ease of Access > On-Screen Keyboard. From there, you can press the ScrLk button to turn off Scroll Lock.

Step 4: Check Excel’s Status Bar

Step 4: Look at Excel’s status bar to confirm Scroll Lock is off.

The status bar at the bottom of Excel will display "Scroll Lock" when it is active. Ensure this is not shown to confirm that the arrow keys will move between cells.

Step 5: Test Arrow Keys

Step 5: Press any of the arrow keys to test if they move from cell to cell.

After turning off Scroll Lock, pressing the arrow keys should navigate you through the cells in your worksheet.

Once you complete these steps, your arrow keys should move the cells in Excel instead of scrolling through the sheet. This is handy for navigating large spreadsheets more efficiently.

Tips for How to Make Arrow Keys Move Cells in Excel

  • If you frequently encounter Scroll Lock issues, consider remapping your keyboard to avoid accidental presses.
  • Familiarize yourself with the on-screen keyboard as a backup option.
  • Keep an eye on the status bar for quick confirmation of the Scroll Lock status.
  • Use keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl + Arrow Key to jump to the edges of data ranges.
  • Regularly check your keyboard for stuck keys that could interfere with functionality.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Scroll Lock?

Scroll Lock is a toggle key on your keyboard that changes the behavior of the arrow keys. When active, it allows for scrolling instead of navigating between cells.

Why aren’t my arrow keys working in Excel?

Your arrow keys might not be working due to Scroll Lock being activated. Check and turn off Scroll Lock to resolve this issue.

How do I use the on-screen keyboard to turn off Scroll Lock?

Open the on-screen keyboard from Start > Programs > Accessories > Ease of Access > On-Screen Keyboard, and click the ScrLk button.

Can I move cells with arrow keys without using the mouse?

Yes, once Scroll Lock is off, you can navigate cells using the arrow keys without needing your mouse.

How do I know if Scroll Lock is on?

Look for a light on your keyboard or check Excel’s status bar. If Scroll Lock is on, it will be indicated in the status bar at the bottom of Excel.

Summary of How to Make Arrow Keys Move Cells in Excel

  1. Check the Scroll Lock key.
  2. Turn Scroll Lock off.
  3. Use the on-screen keyboard if needed.
  4. Check Excel’s status bar.
  5. Test arrow keys.


Mastering how to make arrow keys move cells in Excel can significantly boost your productivity. By simply ensuring that Scroll Lock is turned off, you can navigate through your worksheet with ease. This small adjustment can save you from the hassle of manually clicking each cell, especially in large spreadsheets.

If you find yourself constantly battling with Scroll Lock, consider exploring different keyboard settings or even investing in a keyboard that doesn’t include a Scroll Lock key. Becoming proficient in these small but essential Excel skills helps you work smarter, not harder.

For further reading, check out other Excel navigation tips and tricks to streamline your workflow. Happy Excelling!

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