Don't people do this every day?
February 10, 2012 8:37 AM   Subscribe

I want to do something ridiculously simple in Excel that doesn't seem to be possible. Please tell me that's not true.

I want to have it so that when I move to a cell I am automatically able to edit that cell's contents.

This is on a Mac with Excel 2011.

Currently, I am editing a column of cells filled with text. I edit one cell, press enter to move to the one below it, then PRESS CTRL-U (equivalent of F2 on PC) OR DOUBLE CLICK, in order to be able to edit the next cell.

I want to carry on doing exactly what I am doing WITHOUT HAVING TO PRESS CTRL-U OR DOUBLE CLICKING. I just want to be able to edit straight away, every time.

I am not looking for any answer that involves macros etc. - I just want to tick a box.

Can this really be impossible?
posted by cincinnatus c to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh yeah, bonus points if you can tell me how to make the default cursor position when you edit a cell's contents the beginning of the cell rather than the end.
posted by cincinnatus c at 8:43 AM on February 10, 2012


Cursor down or select the cell, hit F2 to edit in the cell. Is that what you are looking for?
posted by lampshade at 8:48 AM on February 10, 2012


Ht ESC if you got the wrong cell.
posted by lampshade at 8:48 AM on February 10, 2012


No, that's not what I'm looking for:

Currently, I am editing a column of cells filled with text. I edit one cell, press enter to move to the one below it, then PRESS CTRL-U (equivalent of F2 on PC) OR DOUBLE CLICK, in order to be able to edit the next cell.

I want to carry on doing exactly what I am doing WITHOUT HAVING TO PRESS CTRL-U OR DOUBLE CLICKING. I just want to be able to edit straight away, every time.

posted by cincinnatus c at 8:50 AM on February 10, 2012


ahh you are on a Mac and you know the F2 thing....nevver mind
posted by lampshade at 8:51 AM on February 10, 2012


Are you making similar edits to each one? Maybe there's a formula you can use.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 8:54 AM on February 10, 2012


Currently, I am editing a column of cells filled with text. I edit one cell, press enter to move to the one below it, then PRESS CTRL-U (equivalent of F2 on PC) OR DOUBLE CLICK, in order to be able to edit the next cell.

I am using a Mac with Excel 2011. I don't have to press control-u. I just type some text, hit enter, the selection moves to the next cell down, I type some text into that cell, hit enter, the selection moves to the next cell down, type some more text.

I'm pretty much using factory settings. I don't know why it's making you hit control-u. Is the spreadsheet protected in some way?
posted by alms at 8:56 AM on February 10, 2012


Assuming you mean edit rather than just replacing the existing contents of the cell, which is the default, then no there is no easy way to do this that I know of.

What you want is to make Excel use "edit mode" by default, and there are several posts around the web by various people trying to do the same thing but no good answers, judging by my Google search. You might be able to make a simple macro that triggers F2 (or ctrl+u in your case) every time you hit enter, but that could get in the way at other times.

Trivia: you can change which way Excel moves the selection when you hit enter, to left, right, or up, in options>advanced>editing options
posted by Wretch729 at 8:58 AM on February 10, 2012


As to your bonus points question if you double-click at the beginning of the cell the cursor should be put there. Doesn't solve your main problem though.
posted by Wretch729 at 8:59 AM on February 10, 2012


I think the issue is that if there's already data in the cell then moving to the cell and starting to type overwrites the existing data - to edit it you need to hit F2, which gets you a cursor at the end of the cell's contents.

I don't know how to change this; I don't use this version of Excel but this is just how I think of Excel as working, never even occurred to me to question it.
posted by yarrow at 8:59 AM on February 10, 2012


Oh, I get it now. You don't want to replace the text, you want to edit it.

If it's just plain text your best bet is probably to copy it out of Excel into a text document, edit it there, and then copy it back.
posted by alms at 9:00 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Quick hack:


Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range)
Application.SendKeys ("{F2}")
End Sub


Copy and paste that code into every sheet you want to behave like this.

( Developer tab > Visual Basic > VBA Project > Microsoft Excel Objects > [worksheet name] > [paste the code])

Every time a cell is selected, it will enter edit mode. You can move to the next cell down by hitting enter. Arrow keys will move you around the cell, not between different cells.
posted by jsturgill at 9:22 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


One of those requests that is easier said than defined. Edit what? The whole thing by overtyping? Append at the end of the existing text? Insert before the existing text?

As it stands if you hit enter and start typing then you overwrite the cell contents. This is probably the default which works for most people as it it simplifies data entry.

It might only be a couple of checkboxes but include everybody's "couple of checkboxes" and soon you end up with an unholy mess. It is relatively easy to define your desired behaviour by writing a macro and binding that to a keystroke.
posted by epo at 9:23 AM on February 10, 2012


Never worked in Excel on a Mac. This may help. Or it may make you sad. Should make you feel less alone when Excel won't do something seemingly simple or is "not responding."

When you say trying to edit - this is text? I'm only aware of excel wanting to replace all the cell contents (more or less, it can be fruity with line breaks) or forcing you to go through what you're going through.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:25 AM on February 10, 2012


As an alternative to the VBA solution, here is another way to do it.
posted by Brent Parker at 9:31 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


btw: Application.SendKeys ("{F2}")
isn't available on mac
posted by Brent Parker at 9:34 AM on February 10, 2012


btw: Application.SendKeys ("{F2}")
isn't available on mac


Is sendkeys not available? Or do you mean the shortcut is different on a mac?

If you need to use Ctrl + U, you would change it to:


Application.SendKeys ("^U")


But if sendkeys isn't an option, I suppose that won't help.
posted by jsturgill at 9:46 AM on February 10, 2012


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