In Microsoft Excel for Mac 2011 (14.0.0) how can I modify the enter/return key to edit in cell instead of moving the selection down? I know that in Preferences > Edit you can uncheck the box that says "After pressing RETURN, move selection [Down/Right/Up/Left]" which at least makes it a little less annoying, but this behaviour is still not productive.

I'm aware I could emulate the effect using Automator, macros, Butler and whatnot but I prefer not to use a third-party application to do this. I'm open to modifying the system preferences and I'm comfortable using the Terminal, though.

EDIT: I found out here http://www.electrictoolbox.com/keyboard-shortcuts-excel-mac/ that CTRL+U is the keyboard shortcut for edit in cell. Now if it were somehow possible to remap that to CMD+Return by editing some plist file or writing some magic formula in the Terminal, it would be perfect!


Excel does not offer a direct way to customize this: it is neither a menu command (which would be available to OS X’s system wide shortcuts), nor is it a shortcut configurable via Office’s dedicated Tools → Customize Keyboard… (approximate translation, I’m on a German system) dialog – as you can easily test by calling the dialog and pressing Ctrl+U in the Add Shortcut box (no assigned shortcut will be shown).

You can, however, work around the issue by remapping Cmd+Return to Ctrl+U using Takayama Fumihiko’s KeyRemap4MacBook (which, despite its name, will work on any Mac running OS X 10.4 upwards). You will have to add a private.xml configuration file to KeyRemap4MacBook like documented on the KeyRemap4MacBook site, with its XML content looking like this:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
    <name>Remap "Edit in Cell" in Excel</name>
    <appendix>Use Command+Return instead of Ctrl+U</appendix>
    <autogen>--KeyToKey-- KeyCode::RETURN, VK_COMMAND, KeyCode::U, ModifierFlag::CONTROL_L</autogen>

– this will restrict the remapping to Excel (for a complete list of the keycodes used by KeyRemap4MacBook, see its source code).

  • Thanks, @kopischke I came across KeyRemap4MacBook before, but your tip about the private.xml is invaluable. It's exactly what I was looking for! – Daze Nov 29 '11 at 18:30
  • 1
    Ditto. This was great. Looks like Karabiner has replaced KeyRemap4MacBook. The private.xml file was in ~/Library/Application Support/Karabiner. Once you copy/paste the text above, be sure to click "ReloadXML" in the Karabiner Preferences and check the "[x] Remap Edit in Excel" checkbox. – Brian Kelly Jul 31 '14 at 23:30

Found the answer here: http://mymacslife.blogspot.com/2011/04/mac-excel-2011-carriage-return-in-cell.html

ctrl + option + enter


Use F2 in Windows.

More hotkeys: http://www.ddmcomputing.com/excel/keys/xlsk06.htm

  • This does not answer the question. – Jan Doggen Jul 29 '14 at 11:24

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