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In this lesson, we review shortcuts you can use to edit cells more efficiently.


In this video, we'll look at shortcuts for editing cells.

First, the keyboard shortcut for editing a cell is F2 on Windows, and Control + U on a Mac.

With Excel's default settings, this will put your cursor directly in the cell, ready to edit.

You can also double-click a cell to edit.

If you want to always edit cells in the formula bar, even when you use a keyboard shortcut to edit a cell, you'll need to change a setting.

In Windows, use Alt F to access the File menu, then T to access options. Then go to Advanced, and uncheck the checkbox labeled "Allow editing directly in cells"

On a Mac, go to preferences by using Command + comma, then click "Edit", and uncheck checkbox called "Double clicking allows editing directly in a cell"

With this change, I can no longer double-click to edit a cell. However, pressing F2 (or Control U on a Mac) takes me directly to the formula bar.

For the rest of this video, I'll leave that setting, since the shortcuts we're going to look at will be easier to see in the formula bar.

At any time you've started editing a cell, you can cancel the edit by clicking the Escape key.

You can also use the Undo command when editing a cell.

When first enter edit mode, you're cursor will sit just after the last character in the cell.

To move the cursor to the beginning of the cell, use the Home key on Windows, and function + left arrow on a mac.

To move to the end again, use the End key in Windows, and function + right arrow on a mac.

You can combine these shortcuts with shift to select everything in the cell from either direction:

To step through a cell word by word, use the control key with the right or left arrow keys.

As before, you can combine this with the shift key to select individual words and references.

To move through text one character at a time, use only the right and left arrow keys.

By adding shift, you can precisely select one or more characters.

To delete a character to the left, use backspace in Windows, and the Delete key on a mac.

To delete a character to the right, use Delete in Windows, and function + delete on a Mac.

Finally, to add a new line in a cell, use Alt + Enter in Windows, and Control + Option + Return on a Mac.

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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.