Looking for a tip on Microsoft Excel (2003):

If you click on a cell containing a formula, click into the formula, and click away, Excel will enter the cell or range you next select into the formula at the cursor. This is fine and dandy a lot of times, but right now I am working with a spreadsheet that has a lot of really long formulas. If I click into a cell and it goes into the state where it wants to enter a reference to the next cell I click into the formula, I can't always get out of it, and if I click on something, I don't always even know what the change was (these are really long formulas).

So my question is, is there a keystroke I can press or some other action to immediately get out of "input the next thing you click" mode and be sure there are no side effects? Ctrl-Z doesn't do it.

  • As a side note, try using "Named ranges" and "constants" it helps make formulas more readable, and will reduce their length too! – Matt 'Trouble' Esse Aug 27 '09 at 21:46
  • If only the original programmer of this spreadsheet had had this advice. Though to be fair it's really pushing Excel to its limits. I am converting it to a program. – Erika Aug 28 '09 at 14:27
  • Matt's advice is good, and you can still replace ranges with defined names going forward – datatoo Nov 24 '09 at 4:45

Hit Esc or Enter I believe.

  • 1
    Esc will cancel what you've typed, and Enter will save it. – Jeffrey Aug 27 '09 at 21:21
  • 3
    The inverse to this is if you have a cell selected and want to start typing in it, press F2 to begin editing it. – mandroid Aug 27 '09 at 21:37
  • Ooh, the F2 thing is great, too. – Erika Aug 28 '09 at 14:29

Hit the escape key.


Ctrl + Enter

... at least, that’s the answer as far as my understanding of your question goes:

… to immediately get out of “input the next thing you click” mode and be sure there are no side effects?

, which is rather vague.

  • 1
    But this will save any changes you might have made, which seems to be counter to the "no side effects" requirement. – Scott Jun 21 at 23:58
  • Perhaps. The question is vague; however, generally, a side effect is an effect secondary to a main effect. The requirement was to avoid side effects. Presumably, one would want to save changes made; otherwise, why would the changes have been made, unless erroneously? Esc; Enter; or Ctrl + Enter; or yet still Tab; or even Shift + Enter all could work, depending on the task. – Jay Kvam Jun 23 at 4:00

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