How to Fix Excel Arrow Keys Not Moving Cells

When you click the arrow keys on your keyboard on an Excel worksheet, the cell selection box will move from left to right, top to bottom, and more. However, if you can’t see such swift movement of the cell selection box after tapping the arrow keys, it means Excel’s arrow keys are not working.

This post will show you simple and fast ways to fix Excel arrow keys not moving cells. In a Microsoft Windows keyboard layout or QWERTY keyboard, arrow keys are part of the navigation key family.

The arrow keys can be used to move left, right, up, and down. Most Windows system apps, out-of-the-box apps, and third-party apps allow some form of app interface navigation using these navigation keys. Microsoft Excel is no exception.

However, due to technical or software issues, arrow keys on an Excel workbook may not function properly or may cease operating altogether. This is sometimes referred to as the “arrow keys in Excel not working or Excel arrow keys not moving cells” issue of Excel and the keyboard.

Learn to fix the Arrow keys not working in Excel by following the troubleshooting steps below.Excel arrow keys not moving cells

Why are Arrow Keys Important in Excel?

Working with Microsoft Excel is all about using the keyboard. Because business-grade Excel datasheets can have thousands of rows and columns, navigating such a large Excel document with a mouse could be stressful or nearly impossible.

Excel experts and pros employ hundreds of keyboard shortcuts to manoeuvre the Excel worksheet efficiently and rapidly. The arrow keys are required for such motions. It’s nearly impossible to navigate around freely on an Excel sheet without the arrow keys.

As a result, you need to fix the arrow keys not working in Excel as soon as possible to make your work easier.

The methods below depict the steps to take to fix Microsoft Excel arrow keys not moving cells.fix Arrow Keys not Working in Excel

How to Fix Excel Arrow Keys Not Moving Cells

 The following are different methods to explore if you need to fix Arrow Keys not working in your Microsoft Excel sheet.

Check the Scroll Lock Status if it’s On or Off

Your arrows are most likely not working because you unintentionally activated the scroll lock on your keyboard. To get the arrows to operate again, you must disable that feature.

  • Check the light on your keyboard’s Scroll Lock button to check whether this is the case.
  • When the Scroll Lock switch is turned on, the arrow keys on a Windows or Mac keyboard behave differently.
  • With an active Scroll Lock, pressing left, right, up, or down moves the Excel worksheet to one column right or left and one row up or down.
  • The cell selection box will not shift from its current location.
  • The Excel scroll bars, on the other hand, will move.
  • You won’t be able to change cells. In this case, disabling the Scroll Lock will fix the problem.

Here’s how to disable Scroll Lock on your Windows PC:

  • Check your keyboard carefully for the Scroll Lock key.
  • It should be to the right of the F12 key and above the Home button.
  • When Scroll Lock is turned on, the Scroll Lock LED light illuminates.
  • If Scroll Lock was engaged, press it once to turn it off.
  • You will also see that the Scroll Lock LED is no longer glowing.

If you are on a Mac and experiencing the “arrow keys in Excel not working” problem, you can turn off the Scroll Lock to see if the arrow keys start working again.

Here’s how you do it:

  • On Mac, press F14 + Fn to toggle the Scroll Lock off and on.
  • If you don’t see the Fn key on your Mac keyboard, try Shift + F14 to quickly disable Scroll Lock.
  • If none of the following work, you can disable Scroll Lock by pressing the Command + Option + Control + F14 key sequence, which will fix the arrow keys not working in Excel.fix Arrow Keys not Working in Excel

Switch Sticky Keys On and Off

Although there is no direct link between the Sticky Keys function and Scroll Lock, enabling the Sticky Keys option cures the arrow keys issue in Excel.

Here’s how you may change the Sticky keys settings on Windows 11 or Windows10:

  • Enter Accessibility in the Windows Search box.
  • Within the Windows Search results window, select the third item under the Settings section.
  • Accessibility keyboard settings should appear.
  • Toggle on Sticky Keys on the Accessibility >> Keyboard screen.
  • If the issue gets fixed, return to the Accessibility keyboard settings screen and deactivate the Sticky keys.
  • If the issue does not get fixed, deactivate the Sticky keys nevertheless and go to the next solution.

This should fix Arrow Keys not working in Excel. If not, you can try the next fix below.

Power Cycle the Keyboard

A little electronic fault could be generating this issue directly from the keyboard. To power cycle, the keyboard and then test the arrow keys in Excel, do the following:

  • Remove the keyboard cord by pulling out the USB or PS/2 keyboard socket.
  • Wait for about ten seconds.
  • Connect the keyboard’s PS/2 or USB port to the PC once more.

Simply restart the computer if you can’t separate the keyboard from your computing device.fix Arrow Keys not Working in Excel

Exit Formula Entry Mode

If your cursor in Excel does not move, you may be in Excel’s formula entry mode. This indicates you choose a cell, type =, and then began typing a function. In this instance, pressing the arrow key will alter the selected cell in the formula, but it will not control the pointer in the worksheet. Follow the steps below to exit formula entry mode: 

  • You’ve started typing a formula in an Excel worksheet cell and have entered most of the formula.
  • For example, suppose you entered =SUM(). The arrow keys will also not work in this circumstance.
  • Simply press Enter to exit this. This may result in an error notice, which you can simply cancel or fix.
  • Click on any blank cell on the Excel worksheet and move around using the arrow keys. It should now work and fix the Excel arrow keys not moving cells and your cells should be moving now.

Unprotect the Worksheet

Locked cell ranges and a password-protected worksheet prevent you from using the arrow keys to select cells or move around the page. In reality, trying to click a protected portion of the Excel spreadsheet will result in an error notice.

To be able to select a cell within the worksheet, you must first unprotect it. You can try using the arrow keys once you’ve selected a cell. Here’s how to unprotect an Excel worksheet:

  • Navigate to the Review tab on the Excel ribbon menu.
  • Within the Changes command section, click Unprotect Sheet.
  • To unlock the worksheet, enter the password.

That’s it! This should fix Arrow keys not working in Excel. fix Arrow Keys not Working in Excel

Open Excel in Safe Mode

Some malicious Excel add-ins may be running in the background. It’s another possible explanation for the arrow keys not working in Excel.

You can try running Excel in safe mode to automatically disable all Add-ons. If the problem has been resolved, uninstall the most recently used or installed Excel add-on that may have been the source of the problem.

Here’s how to launch Excel in safe mode:

  • Hold down the Ctrl key and select the Excel shortcut from the Start menu.
  • The Microsoft Excel Safe Mode dialog box appears.
  • To proceed, click Yes.
  • Excel’s safe mode interface appears now.
  • None of the add-ins worked in this case. Add-ins, on the other hand, are still available but greyed out.
  • Now, try with the arrow keys on the Excel worksheet. If the keyboard is not defective, this procedure will undoubtedly fix the problem.

Disable Add-Ons

Excel add-ons are useful, however, they can occasionally pose issues when using the application. To utilize the Excel arrow key scroll, you may need to disable any previously installed Excel Add-ons. You can easily disable Add-ons in Excel by following these steps:

  • Start Excel on your computer.
  • Select Options from the left sidebar by clicking the File menu.
  • To view your Excel Add-ins settings, go to the left sidebar and select Add-ins.
  • Select Excel Add-ins from the drop-down menu and click Go.
  • Select all of the Add-ins and press the OK button.
  • Deselect all of the add-ins and press OK.
  • To disable all of your Excel add-ins, repeat the preceding steps for each item in the drop-down menu.
  • Return to your worksheet and try with the arrow keys.

That’s it! You have successfully disabled Add-ons in your Excel and everything should be working fine if it contributes to the source of the arrow key not working.

Unfreeze Columns 

Return to your worksheet and give it a shot. When viewing cells within a group of frozen rows or columns, you may believe the arrow keys have stopped working. However, this is not the case, and you do need to unfreeze those panes to fix the issue.

Simply zooming out will allow you to use the arrow keys. You will have a better view of the spreadsheet and will be able to use the arrow keys more easily in unlocked regions.

These strategies should help you navigate your Excel sheets more easily. Don’t stop learning new things about Microsoft Excel and how to use it more effectively using the arrow keys.

You should understand how to fix the “Excel arrow keys not moving cells” problem in your Excel Microsoft worksheet if you follow up to this point.

If you have any difficulty be kind enough to leave a comment and we will be glad to help.

Leave a Comment