Excel tab key issues
January 23, 2023 11:37 AM   Subscribe

Starting today, when I have the cursor in the formula bar and hit the Tab key, the cursor goes to the name box (to the left of the formula bar) instead of to the next cell. This has never happened to me before. I have not changed anything with the settings since it last worked fine on Friday. How do I fix this?

I do not have VBA in this workbook. I checked a couple other workbooks and am having the same issue. I checked advanced settings and do not have that "Lotus keystrokes" box checked. It happens even in a new blank workbook.
posted by misanthropicsarah to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
The only thing I have found in searching that you did not mention is to check your scroll lock. Sometimes if it is on, the tab key doesn't work correctly.
posted by soelo at 12:05 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]

Also came to say check the scroll lock. Mine just randomly sets itself occasionally without even giving the checkbox indicator. I literally have to go and physically select it off and then on and then off again. Excel is fucking haunted.
posted by phunniemee at 12:10 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]

Clean the keyboard; there could be something in a key causing it to read Tab+Shift(Ctrl, Space, etc.). External keyboard, hold it over the floor and shake it, then use a small paintbrush to clean it. Laptop, just use the paintbrush, use canned air if you have it.
posted by theora55 at 12:12 PM on January 23

I would try File > Options > Customize Ribbon and then Reset all customizations. If that doesn't fix it, maybe try repairing Excel from the Programs and Features control panel.
posted by implied_otter at 1:19 PM on January 23

When my keyboard is acting strange, it is very often some kind of a stuck shift/alt key. Usually you can un-stick them by just tapping each one in turn -- maybe a couple of times just to be safe.

On a normal keyboard this is shift (both sides), alt (both sides), ctrl (both sides), windows key, and then the oddball ones like scroll lock, caps lock, prt sc, pause, usually a keypad/num lock, plus escape, tab, the windows key, and sometimes a special function key or function lock.

If any one of those is stuck down - or even a couple of them - you can get the strangest behavior you can imagine.
posted by flug at 12:01 AM on January 24

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