7 Way to Fix Arrow Keys Not Working in Excel

Arrow Keys Not Working in Excel

Arrow keys allow you to accurately jump to target cells in Excel, but sometimes they don't work. Worry no more about it. You can solve the problem in seconds.

Have you ever tried to input some data in Excel? Then you know that arrow keys on the keyboard are of great help. You can easily use them to enter data in excel and navigate target cells without using the mouse.

Unfortunately, sometimes arrow keys fail to work, and you are stuck. The following are simple tips that you can use to solve the problem and continue using arrow keys to navigate cells on excel.

1. Entering contentEntering content

One of the reasons why arrow keys fail to work as expected in excel is if you don’t press “Enter” after entering data in a cell. Normally, Excel assumes that you haven’t finished typing if you don’t press “enter” after entering data or formula on cells.

Consequently, pressing the arrow key moves the table instead of moving to the next cell. You can avoid arrow key failure by pressing “enter” every time you finish entering some data in cells. That way, you can easily use arrow keys to navigate from one cell to another without experiencing challenges.

2. Turn off scroll lock

You’re likely to experience problems using arrow keys to move from one cell to another on excel if the scroll lock is on. The role of the scroll lock key is to prevent accidental touch when using the keyboard of your PC or laptop.

Therefore, you should turn off the scroll lock when using arrow keys to input data in excel cells. The following are methods that can use to turn off the scroll lock

104 keyboard

Scroll lock

For those using windows computers, just locate the “Scroll lock” button on the keyboard and press it.

If your keyboard doesn’t have the “Scroll lock” button, press fn+C

On Mac

Those using Mac, press F14 or Shift + F14 key combination to disable scroll lock

Use virtual keyboard

You can use the on-screen windows keyboard to turn off the scroll lock.

Step 1: Click in the “start menu” button (at the left bottom of the screen)

Step 2: Search On-Screen Keyboard and click on it to open

On-Screen Keyboard

Step 3: Look for the ScrLk key in the “on-screen keyboard” and use it to disable the scroll lock.


Status bar

You can also unlock scroll lock from Excel’s “Status bar” feature

Step 1: Launch Microsoft Excel and open a spreadsheet page

Step 2: Locate the “Status bar” (on the right bottom of your workbook) and right-click it

Step 3: Go to the “Scroll lock” option and unmark it as shown below

Turn off scroll lock excel


3. Enable the sticky keys

It may sound weird, but enabling the stick keys on your Windows computer can resolve the problem of arrow keys not working on excel. The following are simple methods on how to enable the sticky keys on your computer.

Method 1

Press “Shift Key” 5 times in a row

Method 2

Step 1: Click the “start button” and search for “Control Panel.”

Control Panel

Step 2: Click on “Control Panel app,” scroll to “Ease of Access Center,” and click it.

Ease of Access Center

Step 3: Scroll down and click the “Make the keyboard easier to use” option as shown below.

Make the keyboard easier to use

Step 4: On the page that appears, mark the option that says, “Turn on Sticky Keys,” and click apply. Close the Control Panel.

Turn on Sticky Keys

4. Disable Excel add-ons

Excel add-ons come with numerous benefits. However, they can also lead to arrow keys not working as expected. The following is a systematic procedure on how to disable Excel add-ons if arrow keys aren't working properly.

Step 1: Launch Excel

Step 2: Click on the “File” menu and go “Option” as shown below


Step 3: On the page that appears, click on “add-ins.” Select “Excel Add-ins” and hit the “Go option.”

Excel Add-ins

Step 4: Go to the drop-down menu that appears, unmark all boxes and click “Ok.”

unmark all boxes

5. Unfreeze Excel rows and columns

Arrows keys are unlikely to function as expected in Excel if you lock a cell. Your d-pad actions can only move the entire table when you use arrow keys to navigate from one cell to another.

In that case, you need to unfreeze Excel rows and columns so that arrow keys can function effectively.

Go to the View tab on the spreadsheet, open the window and select “Unfreeze panes.”

Unfreeze panes

6. Check the short circuit of the keyboard

Check the short circuit of the keyboard

Your keyboard may be faulty if arrow keys are not working on Excel. Therefore, you should go to  https://en.key-test.ru/ and test if your keyboard keys can still transmit signals.

Once you open the website, press all the keys to check if they’re effective, if some keys aren’t working, replace the keyboard.

7. Use Applescript on a Mac

For Mac users, arrow keys can’t work (by default) when using Microsoft Excel. However, you can use an AppleScript to solve the problem in seconds so that arrow keys can function as expected. The following is a procedure on how to do it.

Step 1: Open the Launchpad, type “Text Edit,” and press “ENTER.”

Text Edit

Step 2: Go to the “File” menu and choose “ New” to create a new document

File” menu and choose “ New

Step 3: Copy the following script and paste it into the “Text Edit” that you opened

set returnedItems to (display dialog “Press OK to send scroll lock keypress to Microsoft Excel or press Quit” with title “Excel Scroll-lock Fix” buttons {“Quit”, “OK”} default button 2)

set buttonPressed to the button returned of returnedItems

if buttonPressed is “OK,” then

tell application “Microsoft Excel”


end tell

tell application “System Events”

key code 107 using {shift down}

end tell


display dialog “Scroll Lock key sent to Microsoft Excel” with title “Mac Excel Scroll-lock Fix” buttons {“OK”}

end if

Step 4: Press “Command + S keys” to save the file

Step 5: Enter “FixExcelKeys.applescript” (without quotes) on the save as section and save it


Step 6: Launch spreadsheet on Excel. Go to the “FixExcelKeys.applescript” that you saved and double click it. Doing so will solve the problem of arrow keys not working.


You don't have to struggle to navigate the spreadsheet if the arrow keys aren't working. Just try the above tips and solve the problem in seconds. The good thing is that you don’t have to be a tech guru to use any of the above tips.

What are you waiting for? Try any of the above tips or combine a few and improve your productivity with Excel.

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