Excel 2007: Entering Data And Editing Cells

by Andrew Whiteman

To enter information into an Excel worksheet, you modify the cells within that sheet. The process is almost identical regardless of whether you are entering information into empty cells or cells that already contain data. Information is entered into an empty cell simply by activating the cell and then typing. As soon as you start typing, the formula bar becomes activated and two icons appeared to the left of the formula bar.

Once you finish typing you can do one of two things: you can either cancel, to abandon the changes you’ve made to the cell; or enter, to confirm the changes you’ve made. To cancel, either click on the cancel button on the left of the formula bar or press the escape key on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can confirm your changes: to do this you can either click on the Enter button to the left of the formula bar or press the Enter key on your keyboard.

The action of pressing the Enter key does two things: it confirms your data entry and, also, moves you down one cell. This is usually pretty convenient. However Excel allows you to decide what happens when you press the Enter key. To specify this, click on the Office button and choose Excel options. On the left of the dialog box, click on the advanced button. This will display “Editing Options”. The first Editing Option reads “After pressing enter move selection” and allows you to choose the direction in which you move whenever you press the Enter key.

You can either choose “down”, “right”, “up” or “left” or you also have the option of completely deactivating any movement. This means that, whenever you enter data and press the Enter key, the information is entered into the cell but the cell remains active: you won’t move down.

If we need to enter data into several cells, Excel allows us to make a selection and then navigate between the selected cells, entering information as you go. For example say we wish to fill out an invoice: we can select a matrix of cells under the “quantity”, “description” and “unit price” columns. Once we’ve entered the quantity, we can then press the Tab key on the keyboard to move to the “description” column. We can then press Tab again to move the “price” column, and so on.

When we reach the last column of our selection, pressing Tab again moves us to the second selected row. When we reach the bottom right of the selection, if we continue to press Tab, we are taken back to the top left once more. Excel even allows us to move in reverse by pressing Shift and Tab keys together.

You can also move down first and then to the right (as an alternative to moving right and then down). To do so, press the Enter key instead of the Tab key. Naturally, pressing Shift and Enter allows you to move in reverse: up and then to the left.

There are two ways of entering information into a cell that already contains a value. The first is simply to type a new value: activate the cell; type the value and then press the Enter key. The second is to edit the value. To do this, you can either double-click on the cell and make your changes directly within the cell; or you can activate the cell and make your changes in the formula bar.

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