Arrow Keys not Working in Excel (Not Moving Cells)

When everything is working as expected, when you hit the up arrow key or the down arrow key in Excel, you would expect the cursor to go to the cell above or below.

And since you’re reading this article, I can assume that it’s not happening with your Excel.

One common issue with arrow keys in Excel is that it moves the worksheet, but the cursor doesn’t move.

It’s as if the cursor is stuck in the cell and doesn’t move with the arrow key, but the worksheet page scrolls.

And it has a really easy fix – the scroll lock.

In this short tutorial, I will show you how to fix when arrow keys are not working as expected in your Excel file.

Disable the Scroll Lock to Fix the Arrow Keys in Excel

When scroll lock is enabled, it does exactly that – locks the scrolling.

If this is the case, you will also see Scroll Lock written in the status bar in Excel (at the left side of the Status bar), as shown below:

Scroll Lock written in status bar

And if you want to get the original functionality of the arrow keys in Excel back, you need to disable the scroll lock.

Disabling with a Keyboard that Has the Scroll Lock Key

If you’re using a keyboard that has a numeric keypad, there is a good chance that you already have the scroll lock key.

And to disable the scroll lock, you need to find the key and press it.

This would disable the scroll lock. In most keyboards, there would also be a scroll lock light that would turn off, indicating that it is no longer active.

Disabling Scroll Lock with On-Screen Keyboard

With laptops getting smaller and sleeker, many keyboards don’t have the scroll lock key.

So if you somehow manage to enable the scroll lock, you won’t be able to disable it with a keypress.

No worries – we can use the On-Screen Keyboard.

Below are the steps to do this:

  1. Go to the search bar in Windows
  2. Search for ‘keyboard’. This should show the On-screen keyboard option
  3. Click on the On-Screen Keyboard option. This will open the… you guessed it, the On-Screen Keyboard
  4. Locate the Scroll Lock (ScrLk) and click on it
Scroll lock on onscreen keyboard

The above steps would disable the scroll lock and you will be able to move the cursor in Excel using the arrow keys.

Pro tip: You can use the keyboard shortcut Windows + Cntrl + O to open the on-screen keyboard.

Disable Add-ins and Check

In most cases, disabling the scroll lock should fix the issue.

In an off chance that the issue still persists for you, there is a possibility that some add-in is interfering with the keystrokes.

This can be the case if you’re using any third-party add-ins in Excel.

You can troubleshoot this by disabling the add-ins and see if the arrow key issue gets fixed.

Below are the steps to disable the add-ins in Excel:

  1. Open any Excel file
  1. Click the File tab
Click the File tab
  1. Click on Options. This will open the Excel Options dialog box.
  1. In the Excel Options dialog box, click on the Add-ins option in the left-pane
Click on Addins
  1. Click on the Manage drop-down (which is at the bottom of the dialog box)
Click on manage addins drop down
  1. Click on COM Add-ins
Click on COM Addins
  1. Click on Go
  1. In the COM Add-ins dialog box that opens, disable all the add-ins
Disable all the existing add-ins
  1. Click Ok

Once done, close the workbook and open it again and check whether the arrow keys work as expected or not. If an add-in was causing the issue, it should be fixed.

You can also try and enable the add-in and see if the issue persists. Sometimes, the process of disabling and enabling the add-in takes care of the issue and you can then continue using the same add-in.

So this is how you can troubleshoot in case your arrow keys are not working as expected in Excel (i.e., scrolling instead of moving the cursor).

I hope you found this tutorial useful.

Other Excel tutorials you may also like:

Excel Ebook Subscribe


Get 51 Excel Tips Ebook to skyrocket your productivity and get work done faster

Sumit Bansal
Hello there! I'm Sumit Bansal, founder of and an Excel MVP. I started this website in 2013 with a simple goal: to share my love for Excel through easy to follow tips, tutorials and videos. I'm here to help you get the best out of MS Excel to save time and boost your productivity.

Leave a Comment