Bottom Line: Learn to change what happens when the Enter key is pressed after editing a cell. The cell below is typically selected, but we can change this behavior.
Skill Level: Beginner
Preventing the Enter Key from Moving Down
Typically when you are editing a cell and press the Enter key, the cell below is selected. This is the default behavior in Excel, but there are a few ways to change this.
About a month ago, we received a comment on one of our YouTube tutorials from a viewer called DRSteele, who indcated that their preference for the Enter key is that it doesn't make the active cell move at all.
Fellow commenter Joe M suggested a great one-at-a-time solution. If you don't want your selected cell to move down, you can press Ctrl + Enter instead of just Enter.
That's a really good tip for individual instances, and one I use often.
Altering Enter Key Behavior
If you want to change the behavior of your Enter key for the long term, DRSteele's recommendation to change the setting in Excel Options is great.
You can make it so that the Enter key makes the active cell stay where it is. You can also make it so that the Enter key moves the selected cell in another direction. It's a setting that is very easy to adjust.
Start by choosing the File tab, and then selection Options (at the bottom of the left menu). This will bring up the Excel Options window, where you'll want to select the Advanced Tab.
The first option in this menu controls how the Enter key behaves. You can uncheck the box if you don't want the Enter key to move the selection at all. Or you can use the drop-down menu to select another direction for the Enter key to move the active cell (up, down, left, or right).
If you've turned off the option to move the active cell, you can to use your arrow keys to move the highlighted cell instead of Enter.
Bonus Tip: Use the Tab Key for Tables
If you are entering data in a block that is set up as a table, you might want to use the Tab key instead of Enter. This moves your selection to the right, and as you get to the rightmost column of the table, the Tab key will move you down to the leftmost entry of the next row of the table.
This pattern of movement is the same way your eyes move when you read a book in English. Therefore, it's probably a familiar pattern to your brain, which may allow you to enter data faster.
Selecting Shift + Tab will move you in the opposite direction.
Thanks again to everyone for the suggestions. Your comments inspire videos and help us all learn. So don't be shy; please leave a comment or suggestion below if this tip has been helpful or you have other recommendations for changing the behavior of the Enter key.