A single workbook in an Excel file can be exceptionally large with thousands of rows and columns. The address bar makes it easy to navigate or jump straight to a cell without using the scroll bars but if you’re working on a particular section of a sheet, using the arrow keys to switch between cells is often the easiest method to navigate the workbook.
Arrows keys not working in Microsoft Excel
Excel is a complex app. It stands to reason that not every function in the app can be controlled with a keyboard. As far as navigation is concerned, the set of four arrow keys on a keyboard can be used to move between cells. If you have a number pad on your laptop keyboard or an external keyboard, you can use the arrow keys on it to navigate a workbook.
If the arrows keys are not working in Microsoft Excel, and you’re unable to move between cells, try the fixes below.
1. Turn off scroll lock
Scroll lock, when turned on, can interfere with the navigation function of the arrow keys. To turn scroll lock off, look for the Scroll Lock key on the keyboard and tap it.
It’s possible that you may need to press the Fn key and then the Scroll Lock key to disable scroll lock. It depends on the keyboard that you have.
To check if you’ve turned it off, open the Excel Workbook and look at the bottom bar. ‘Scroll lock’ should NOT show on it.
2. Enable sticky keys
This fix works in general but if you’re using the arrow keys on the number pad, this should be the definitive fix.
- Open Control Panel.
- Go to Ease of access.
- Look for Change how your keyboard works and select it.
- Enable ‘Turn on sticky keys’.
3. Change Excel settings
It’s possible you need to enable support for arrow keys in Excel. It can be turned off (though it’s normally on by default).
- Open Excel.
- Go to File>Options.
- Select the Advanced tab.
- Enable the ” Enable fill handle and cell drag-and-drop” option.
An Excel file can be big but if it has too much data in it, or it has macros, it will slow down. It isn’t optimized to work as a database though plenty of people use it as one. Try to open one Excel file at a time, running a file with macros disabled, and try to quit any app that may be using your system’s resources and slowing the file down.