This post describes various ways to navigate the cells in a worksheet in Excel.
Every worksheet consists of rows (numbered 1 through 1,048,576) and columns (labeled A
through XFD). Column labeling works like this: After column Z comes column AA, which is
followed by AB, AC, and so on. After column AZ comes BA, BB, and so on. After column ZZ
is AAA, AAB, and so on.
The intersection of a row and a column is a single cell, and each cell has a unique address
made up of its column letter and row number. For example, the address of the upper-left
cell is A1. The address of the cell at the lower right of a worksheet is XFD1048576.
At any given time, one cell is the active cell. The active cell is the cell that accepts key-
board input, and its contents can be edited. You can identify the active cell by its darker
border, as shown in below figure. If more than one cell is selected, the dark border surrounds
the entire selection, and the active cell is the light-colored cell within the border. Its
address appears in the Name box. Depending on the technique that you use to navigate
through a workbook, you may or may not change the active cell when you navigate.
The row and column headings of the active cell appear in a different color to make it easier
to identify the row and column of the active cell.
Navigating with your keyboard –
Not surprisingly, you can use the standard navigational keys on your keyboard to move
around a worksheet. These keys work just as you’d expect: the down arrow moves the active
cell down one row, the right arrow moves it one column to the right, and so on. PgUp and
PgDn move the active cell up or down one full window. (The actual number of rows moved
depends on the number of rows displayed in the window.)
The Num Lock key on your keyboard controls the way the keys on the numeric keypad
behave. When Num Lock is on, the keys on your numeric keypad generate numbers. Many
keyboards have a separate set of navigation (arrow) keys located to the left of the numeric
keypad. The state of the Num Lock key doesn’t affect these keys.
Below Table summarizes all the worksheet movement keys available in Excel.
Navigating with your mouse –
To change the active cell by using the mouse, just click another cell and it becomes the
active cell. If the cell that you want to activate isn’t visible in the workbook window, you
can use the scrollbars to scroll the window in any direction. To scroll one cell, click either
of the arrows on the scrollbar. To scroll by a complete screen, click either side of the scroll-
bar’s scroll box. To scroll faster, drag the scroll box or right-click anywhere on the scrollbar
for a menu of shortcuts.
Press Ctrl while you use the mouse wheel to zoom the worksheet. If you prefer to use the
mouse wheel to zoom the worksheet without pressing Ctrl, choose File ➪ Options and select
the Advanced section. Place a check mark next to the Zoom on Roll with IntelliMouse check
Using the scrollbars or scrolling with your mouse doesn’t change the active cell. It simply
scrolls the worksheet. To change the active cell, you must click a new cell after scrolling.