We have lots of spreadsheets that have lists of numbered sound files for an educational app. We use spreadsheet features such as "fill down" for the numbering, and we often use formulas to check whether contents of cells are the same when edits are made. We have the text associated with the sound in one column, and the corresponding translations into other languages in other columns. We will then send the spreadsheet with the English text for translation, and will receive it back with the translations populated via email.

Unfortunately, the cells are often large with lots of text. Scrolling is very difficult, because the cell is often clipped by the screen edges, and when you try to scroll, it jumps to the next cell, so you can never see the full cell contents.

Is there a way to scroll the document in either OpenOffice Calc or MS Excel to scroll - not by cell, but instead per amount of pixels (smooth scrolling)?
Thanks in advance for your guidance.

  • 6
    While technically an opinion, they are right. Excel is not the best tool for this job. You are trying to make it do something it was not designed for, excel is for numbers, not large amounts of text.
    – Aboba
    Jul 3, 2014 at 19:44
  • 59
    And that is utterly irrelevant, because I find the snapping to cells while scrolling irritating, even for cells with "normally sized" contents.
    – Triynko
    Jul 3, 2014 at 19:47
  • 2
    Hmmm.... this may be a duplicate of: superuser.com/questions/47908/…
    – Triynko
    Jul 3, 2014 at 19:57
  • 9
    anyone knows how to do it in google spread sheet?
    – JinSnow
    Jan 2, 2017 at 9:16
  • 1
    Relevant bug reports: LO 40917, LO 34689, OO 7722, OO 81907. Aug 3, 2017 at 16:29

6 Answers 6


I see you've gotten a lot of unhelpful answers, and this one probably adds to that list. It is not possible to do this in Excel. There was a conversation with an Excel MVP in 2013 on this topic that confirms it.

You might be able to mitigate the problem by using the zoom feature. Or (if you are feeling more adventurous) use Excel's macro function to add features that will help you do the task you actually want to do. You are presumably not just scrolling for the fun of it, you probably want to look for something. A button that handles the searching etc. for you might solve the 'underlying issue'.

The web based Excel can view the spreadsheet by scrolling pixelwise, but if you try to enter text into a cell, the scroll position snaps to the cell's edges. This might be a workaround, if you are just viewing.

Finally, there is always the possibility that you can export the data to a better tool (e.g. PDF), or store it in a different tool that still lets you access it over Excel for those times when you need to. But we are shading into a discussion of databases and that's another topic entirely.

In the meantime vote for the feature to be implemented by Microsoft.

  • Open the mentioned conversation, and under the question click I have the same question. No registration or login needed for this.
  • Open the corresponding UserVoice item, and click Vote. The site will ask for an email address. The address is not verified, so a dummy email will do.
  • 7
    It seems really obnoxious that they did that. I don't remember having this issue at all in excel '07, can't speak on '10.
    – chiliNUT
    Jul 19, 2016 at 16:14
  • 33
    not only obnoxious, but down right embarrassing. Then again that is MS in a nutshell; refuse to make stuff user-friendly, and stick to their choice until they loose all market value. Everyone who dislikes this should goto the conversation mentioned here and click 'me too', to help MS realize that they chose poorly.
    – Superole
    Dec 31, 2016 at 14:56
  • 8
    Instead of going to the support forum, rather vote for the corresponding User Voice item to make yourself heard. The Excel rep wrote they will be "getting it [improved scrolling] done (...) sooner based on the number of votes it gets". Aug 28, 2017 at 11:26
  • 3
    I'm afraid this is not how excel works what an Insightful convo.
    – Nearoo
    Nov 7, 2018 at 15:13
  • 2
    I find this not unhelpful, but indeed helpful. Sometimes the answer is just unfortunately "You cannot do what you want". You told me that, why, and how I might be able to change that in the future. I don't think your first sentance adds anything to your answer though.
    – GPPK
    Jan 2, 2019 at 13:11

Yes, you can scroll smoothly in Excel if you drag with the middle mouse button.

  • 52
    It snaps to grid as soon as you let go...
    – Aboba
    Jul 3, 2014 at 20:03
  • 3
    With my mouse, if I middle click (and let go), my pointer changes to scroll mode. I can then drag the mouse around for scrolling like normal. If I middle click again to exit scroll mode, the grid snaps into place jarringly. But if I regular click to exit scroll mode, it doesn't which makes this workaround pretty viable for me personally. Thanks!
    – Polshgiant
    Jul 26, 2016 at 14:35
  • 1
    Scratch that, I wasn't trying on tall enough rows. It still jumps if I try to stop halfway through a really tall row. Damn!
    – Polshgiant
    Jul 26, 2016 at 14:36

I had the same issue. Chosing Excel because of the controlled cells for text. My solution was to keep the heights of the cells in the sheet, thus scrolling floats smoothly. The cells with text were made by merging many cells. That way i have big text cells, but the scrolling is based on normal small cells.

  • As the file is from an external source it could be hard to get them to edit them that was.
    – Seth
    Dec 14, 2016 at 11:48
  • @Seth As I understand it the file is NOT from an external source originally. And this answer provides a good solution, even if it is a little bit cumbersome. I found this answer useful :D
    – Superole
    Dec 31, 2016 at 14:47
  • 1
    Merging cells is a nice workaround to know
    – pelms
    Feb 2, 2017 at 10:06

I tend to click and drag the vertical scrollbar in this situation. It's not ideal as I have to hold the mouse button down to prevent it jumping around to "snap to cell" while reading, but I find it easier to control than the middle-mouse-button-drag technique.

  • 5
    Doesn't work. It will still scroll by cell.
    – red-o-alf
    Apr 13, 2017 at 18:11
  • You're right it still jumps @jj_ Apr 17, 2017 at 7:02

An alternative, to solving the problem of smooth scrolling directly, can be that you enlarge the field at the top, where the respective part of the current cell is shown.

There you can concentrate on the cell's content also enjoying line breaks, while navigating through the table using the arrows on your keyboard.

Since a cell's content is limited to 255 characters, enlarging that field sufficiently does not require losing sight for navigating the table.

  • 3
    Good tip, but at least since Excel 2007 the character limit for a cell is actually 32.767. So enlarging the edit field at the top could not be feasible. (Source: Excel's official specifications and limits) Aug 28, 2017 at 11:47

Another Workaround would be VBA Macro which automatically reduces the height of a cell to the default value like 12.75 points after you leave the row. And if you select the cell, it sets the cell height to AutoFit, which shows the full text of a cell.


Public LastCell As Object

Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range)
    If Selection.CountLarge = 1 Then
        'MsgBox "Cell " & Target.Address & " clicked."
        If Not LastCell Is Nothing Then
            If LastCell.Row <> ActiveCell.Row Then
                'MsgBox "Set Entire Row Height of " & LastCell.Address & " from " & LastCell.RowHeight & " to a smaller value"
                LastCell.EntireRow.RowHeight = 12.75
                Set LastCell = Nothing
            End If
        End If
        'MsgBox "Set Entire Row from " & ActiveCell.RowHeight & " to AutoFit"
        Set LastCell = ActiveCell
    End If
End Sub


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If you need to view the complete content of a sheet, you could add a feature which sets AutoFit for all rows by selecting a column after your usual content.

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