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Arrow keys not working in Excel: 3 Fixes

Excel is one of the most popular software ever to exist. Whether you use it to crunch numbers daily or haven’t even opened it on a PC, you know what the software is and what it does.

However, every little bit matters for those who use it daily, and having a bug that leaves your arrow keys useless can be rather annoying. In this article, we’re going over a few ways you can fix your arrow keys not working in Excel.

Also read: How to reduce Excel file size? 7 methods explained


Turn off the Scroll Lock

This is more of a mistake than a bug. Excel doesn’t let you use arrow keys when the scroll lock is enabled. Now, if you have a hardware scroll lock key on your keyboard, you can press it and disable the scroll lock to get your arrow keys working again.

However, if you can’t use the physical button for whatever reason, you can use the Windows on-screen keyboard to do the same.

If you’re on a Mac, you can either use the F14, Shift + F14 or Command + F14 key combinations to disable (or enable) the scroll lock. If you can’t use physical keys, you will have to run the following script to disable the scroll lock. 

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”
activate
end tell
tell application “System Events”
key code 107 using {shift down}
end tell
activate
display dialog “Scroll Lock key sent to Microsoft Excel” with title “Mac Excel Scroll-lock Fix” buttons {“OK”}
end if

Copy and paste this script in TextEdit and save it with a .applescript extension. Then, double-click the file to run the script after you’ve opened Excel, and the scroll lock will be disabled.


Enable Sticky Keys

 If you’re on a Windows machine, enabling Sticky Keys can help you get your arrow keys working in Excel again. Here’s how.

Step 1: Open the Control Panel and click on Ease of Access Center.

Arrow keys not working in Excel: 3 Fixes | Candid.Technology

Step 2: Click on Make the keyboard easy to use. 

Arrow keys not working in Excel: 3 Fixes | Candid.Technology

Step 3: Enable the Sticky Keys checkbox. 

Arrow keys not working in Excel: 3 Fixes | Candid.Technology

Alternatively, you can press the Shift key quickly five times and select Yes from the pop-up menu that appears. 


Disable add-ins

Excel add-ins are a quick and easy way to add more functionality to the software but can also conflict with its functionality. Here’s how you can disable them. 

Step 1: Click on File followed by Options. 

Arrow keys not working in Excel: 3 Fixes | Candid.Technology

Step 2: Click on the Add-ins section, select Excel Add-ins in the Manage drop-down and click Go…

Arrow keys not working in Excel: 3 Fixes | Candid.Technology

Step 3: Uncheck all available add-ins and click OK, 

Arrow keys not working in Excel: 3 Fixes | Candid.Technology

Now try using your arrow keys again.

Also read: How to freeze a row in Excel?

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