How comfortable you are with Excel’s cell modes?

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We didn’t have a clue until we alternately understood how Excel acts when we are in a certain dialogue box.

So, for example, you are in a data validation dialog box and you would like to move around with the keyboard keys, in the dialog box, it automatically inserts a cell reference in there.

That’s because it’s in point mode in Excel, which is different to edit mode.

So, what type of modes do we have and how can we switch between these modes?

The default cell mode state for Excel is the ready mode. Now, in this state, nothing happens, you can click on this cell, move around, click on these dialog boxes, you’ll stay in ready mode.

Now, the moment you start to input something, so let’s say we had input a number here, it goes into enter mode. Because we didn’t start this input with an equal sign or a plus sign or a minus sign, Excel knows that we are not inputting a formula, so if we use now the arrow keys to move around, it’s going to leave the cell and input that number in the cell.

So, if we went here and again, input let’s say 60, we are in enter mode, either click Enter or use the down arrow key and move down a cell. But it’s going to behave differently now when it seems that we are inputting a formula.

So we are going to start with the equal sign, back in entering mode but this time, we are going to use the arrow keys.

Again, we are going to go up and notice which mode we are in now, it’s in point mode, so it switched directly from entering mode to point mode the moment we used the arrows and it’s only because it realized that we are inputting a formula because we started the input with an equal sign.

Now even if you start with the minus sign or a plus sign, it’s going to act the same way. So now let’s say we click on the 50, we are going to do a plus and again, we are in enter mode so we are going to go and use my arrow keys again and go and select the 60 and now press Enter and we are back in ready mode.

But now let’s say I want to go and edit this.

Now let’s try and include a new number so we are going to put 30 in here. Now to edit this, we are going to use the F2 shortcut key or you can also double click in the cell.

Now we’re in edit mode, which’s different to the enter mode because, in edit mode, we can use the arrow keys to move around inside the formula and make changes if we wanted to.

So we can switch this to a minus and we are still in edit mode and let’s go and now add something to it. So from edit mode, now if we want to go and use the keyboard keys to select B2, we can’t just press the up key right now because what happens if we do that, it just jumps to here, right?

So we need to go back to that pointing mode. That’s when we can use the F2 key again.

So those are Excel’s different cell modes. Keep an eye on which mode you’re in and switch them if you need to. We make sure that using excel will enhance your business and improve your services. At the same time, we ensure that Excel Training in Malaysia is always at par with the industry standards. Our ultimate aim is to make sure that your company works efficiently to help you accomplish your goals and objectives.

Alen Parker

Guest Blogger | SEO Outreach | SEO