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Editing and Clearing Worksheet Cells in Excel for Mac 2011

When you start typing in a cell in Excel in Office 2011 for Mac, the border gets a nice, soft shadow and seems to be closer to you than the rest of the sheet. The blinking insertion cursor displays inside the cell so you can see and control where text will appear as you type or paste.

When you type in a cell, you’re performing what’s called in-cell editing. What you type in a cell appears simultaneously in the Formula bar, and vice versa. When you're done editing in a cell, the cell displays the calculation result, and the Formula bar displays the cell's formula.

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Excel doesn’t know when you’re done typing in a cell unless you take specific action to let Excel know you’re no longer working with a cell.

When you’re done editing in a cell or the Formula bar, take any of the following actions to let Excel know you’ve finished:

  • Press Return or Enter.

  • Press an arrow key.

  • Press the Tab key.

  • Click the Enter button beside the cell address box.

  • Click the Cancel button beside the cell address box.

  • Click a different cell.

After you select something other than the cell you’re editing, the cell you were editing returns to its normal appearance. Double-click any nonempty cell to return to in-cell editing. Excel displays the insertion cursor in the cell, and you can resume editing the cell’s contents.

Want to get rid of something inside a cell? All you have to do is click that cell and press the Delete key.

That’s handy for a single cell, but if you select a range of cells and press the Delete key, only the contents of the first cell in the range will be deleted. To clear a range of cells, select the range of cells and then hold down the Command key down while you press the Delete key. (On some Macs, you may need to press the Function key as well for this to work.)

Using the Delete key method deletes cell content, but not formatting or comments. You can clear formats, contents, or comments by using this method:

  1. Select the cell range you want to clear.

    Select by dragging the mouse or entering the name of the cell range into the Name box.

  2. Choose Edit→Clear from the menu bar. Alternatively, click the Ribbon’s Home tab, and in the Edit group, click Clear.

    Either way, you get to a submenu with several options. Choose one of the following:

    • All: Clears contents, formats, and comments.

    • Formats: Clears formats without disturbing contents or comments.

    • Contents: Clears contents without disturbing formats or comments.

    • Comments: Clears comments without disturbing contents or formats.

    • Hyperlinks: Clears hyperlinks without disturbing contents or formats. If there are no hyperlinks in the cell(s) you selected, this option is grayed out.

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