How to Return to a Column When Typing Data in Excel

Use your keyboard to manipulate your worksheet cell selection.
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Quickly enter your spreadsheet data into multiple rows and columns using the Tab and Enter keys. In Microsoft Excel, you can press the Tab key to move your selection to the next cell after entering data. After you enter all of your necessary data values for one row, use the Enter key to return to the cell in the row directly below your first column of data. If you want to return to the previous cell when you press the Enter key, then you can adjust the default enter key behavior in the Advanced category of Excel Options.

1 Tab and Enter Keys

2 Enter your first data value into cell A1

Enter your first data value into cell "A1."

3 Press the Tab key

Press the "Tab" key to move to the next column in the current row.

4 Repeat the process

Repeat the process until you have entered all of the data for your first row.

5 Press the Enter

Press the "Enter" key to return to the column containing your first data on a new row.

6 Change Enter Key Default Behavior

7 Click the File menu

Click the "File" menu in Excel and then click "Options" from the left sidebar.

8 Click Advanced from the left sidebar

Click "Advanced" from the left sidebar.

9 Select the default behavior for the Enter key

Select the default behavior for the Enter key. Click the "Direction" drop-down box next to After Pressing Enter, Move Selection under Editing Options, and then select "Left."

10 Click the OK button

Click the "OK" button to save changes and close the Excel Options dialog.

11 Select a cell

Select a cell in your worksheet and then press the "Enter" key to automatically move your selection to the adjacent cell in the column to the left. If you are selecting a cell in column A, then your selection will not change when you press Enter.

  • Information in this article applies to Microsoft Excel 2013. Procedures may vary with different versions or products.
  • You can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move your selection to the adjacent cells.
  • Uncheck the box next to "After Pressing Enter, Move Selection" under Editing Options if you want to remain in the selected cell after you press "Enter."

Located in Denver, Chad Davis has been writing about technology for more than 10 years. He is a technical writer for information technology and product development. Davis provides grant writing and marketing services to small businesses. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from the University of New Mexico.