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For Seniors: How to Enter Text or Numbers in Microsoft Excel

To enter text and numbers in a cell in a Microsoft Excel worksheet, you simply select the cell and begin typing. Whatever you type appears both in the cell and in the Formula bar. When you finish typing, you can leave the cell in any of these ways:

  • Press Enter (moves you to the next cell down).

  • Press Tab (moves you to the next cell to the right).

  • Press Shift+Tab (moves you to the next cell to the left).

  • Press an arrow key (moves you in the direction of the arrow).

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If you need to edit what’s in the cell, you have these choices:

  • Click the cell to select it, and then click the cell again to move the insertion point into it. Edit like you would in Word or any text program.

  • Click the cell to select it, and then type a new entry to replace the old one.

If you make a mistake when editing, you can press Esc (top left of your keyboard) to cancel the edit before you leave the cell. If you need to undo an edit after having left the cell, press Ctrl+Z or click the Undo button on the Quick Access toolbar.

If you decide you don’t want the text you typed in a particular cell, you can get rid of it in several different ways:

  • Select the cell; then right-click the cell and choose Clear Contents from the menu that appears.

  • Select the cell; then choose Home→Editing→Clear→Clear Contents.

  • Select the cell, press the spacebar, and then press Enter. This technically doesn’t clear the cell’s content, but it replaces it with a single, invisible character — a space.

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