Editing a formula using keyboard

In this article, you’ll learn how to edit a formula using keyboard in Microsoft Excel. Sometimes, you will find yourself clicking back and forth between the cell and the formula bar while entering an editing formula.  The following are some tricks that you can use to edit a cell without touching your mouse:-

  • Use the arrow keys to move to the cell.
  • Press the F2 key to enter edit mode.
  • While in edit mode, use these tips to make changes


Let’s take an example and understand:-

We have a score sheet, in which we have calculated total score, average, maximum and minimum score.

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  • Use the arrow keys if you need to select cells to use in your formula. When selecting cells, remember to press F2 to toggle between edit mode and select mode.

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  • Press the HOME key to move the cursor to the beginning of the formula.

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  • Press the END key to move the cursor to the end of the formula.

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  • Hold down the CTRL key plus the left or right arrow to move quickly through the formula.
  • Hold down the SHIFT key and use the left or right key to highlight a part of your formula.

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  • Press the END key and then CTRL+SHIFT+HOME to select the whole formula.

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  • If you need to, you can copy (CTRL+C) and paste (CTRL+V) parts of your formula.
  • When you’ve finished making changes to your formula, press ENTER to accept the changes or press the ESC key to revert changes in case you have made a mistake.


These are the ways we can edit the formula by using the keyboard’s keys.


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  1. I use keyboard short cuts for 20 years now. I use the arrow keys to navigate between cells and F2 key to edit the cell. SOMEHOW now the F2 key is toggling between all the microsoft windows I have opened. How do I reset my F2 key to edit cells again? I work with data a lot and it's frustrating me. Please advice.

  2. Very well done!!
    I have been looking for a way to use the arrow keys inside of formulas, and not have Excel throw errors.

    Thank you for writing a simple, effective, and uncluttered instructional!

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