In spreadsheets and other programs, such as word processors, the insertion point is represented by a dashed vertical line, which, in certain situations, indicates where keyboard or mouse input will appear. The insertion point is often called the Cursor …
Note : These instructions apply to versions of Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and Excel for Office 365.
Active cell vs. insertion point
In word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word, the insertion point is usually visible on the screen from the moment the application is opened. In Excel, however, instead of an insertion point, a single worksheet cell is surrounded by a black outline.
The marked cell is called the active cell.
Entering data in the active cell
If you start typing Word, the text is inserted at the insertion point. However, if you start typing in a spreadsheet program, the data is entered in the active cell.
Data entry vs. Edit mode in Excel
When it is launched, Excel is normally in data entry mode, which is indicated by the presence of the active cell outline. Once data has been entered into a cell, if you wish to change the data, you can activate the edit mode instead of re-entering the entire contents of the cell.
Only in edit mode is the insertion point visible in Excel. You can activate Edit mode in three different ways:
- Double-click the mouse pointer on the cell you want to edit; the insertion point will be positioned in the cell at the location where you double-clicked.
- Click once with the mouse pointer on the cell to be edited and then press the F2 key on the keyboard; the insertion point will be positioned in the cell at the end of the cell content.
- By clicking once with the mouse pointer in the cell to be edited and then clicking inside the formula bar located above the worksheet; the insertion point will be positioned in the formula bar at the location where you clicked.
When Excel is in Edit mode , you’ll see the word Edit in the bottom left corner of your worksheet. Some commands are not available in this mode, such as changing the alignment of a cell’s content.
Exit Edit mode
Once you have edited the contents of a cell, you can exit edit mode and save your changes by pressing the Enter key on your keyboard or by clicking in a different spreadsheet cell.
To exit edit mode and discard any changes to the contents of a cell, press the ESC key on the keyboard.