How to Navigate and Edit Numbers Documents on Your MacBook

By Mark L. Chambers

Your MacBook allows you to do many handy things in a Numbers document. Once you learn to navigate through your spreadsheets, there are multiple way to edit so your document appears exactly as you need it to.

Navigate and select cells in a spreadsheet

You can use the scroll bars to move around in your spreadsheet, but when you enter data in cells, moving your fingers from the keyboard is a hassle. For this reason, Numbers has various movement shortcut keys that you can use to navigate. After you commit these keys to memory, your productivity shoots straight to the top.

Key or Key Combination Where the Cursor Moves
Left arrow (←) One cell to the left
Right arrow (→) One cell to the right
Up arrow (↑) One cell up
Down arrow (↓) One cell down
Home To the beginning of the active worksheet
End To the end of the active worksheet
Page Down Down one screen
Page Up Up one screen
Return One cell down (also works within a selection)
Tab One cell to the right (also works within a selection)
Shift+Enter One cell up (also works within a selection)
Shift+Tab One cell to the left (also works within a selection)

You can use the trackpad to select cells in a spreadsheet:

  • To select a single cell, click it.

  • To select a range of multiple adjacent cells, click a cell at any corner of the range you want and then drag in the direction you want.

  • To select a column of cells, click the alphabetic heading button at the top of the column.

  • To select a row of cells, click the numeric heading button on the far left side of the row.

How to enter and edit data in a MacBook spreadsheet

After you navigate to the cell in which you want to enter data, you’re ready to type your data. Follow these steps to enter That Important Stuff:

  1. Either click the cell or press the spacebar.

    A cursor appears, indicating that the cell is ready to hold any data you type.

  2. Type your data.

    Spreadsheets can use both numbers and text in a cell — either type of information is considered data in the Spreadsheet World.

  3. To edit data, click in the cell that contains the data to select it and then click the cell again to display the insertion cursor. Drag the insertion cursor across the characters to highlight them and then type the replacement data.

  4. To simply delete characters, highlight the characters and press Delete.

  5. When you’re ready to move on, press Return (to save the data and move one cell down) or press Tab (to save the data and move one cell to the right).

How to align text in your MacBook spreadsheet

You can also change the alignment of text in the selected cells. (The default alignment is flush left for text and flush right for numeric data.) Follow these steps:

  1. Select the cells, rows, or columns you want to format.

  2. Click the Inspector toolbar button.

  3. Click the Text Inspector button on the Inspector toolbar to display the settings.

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  4. Click the corresponding alignment button to choose the type of formatting you want to apply.

    You can choose left, right, center, justified, and text left and numbers right. Text can also be aligned at the top, center, or bottom of a cell.

You can also select the cells you want to align and click the appropriate alignment button in the Format bar.

Do you need to set apart the contents of some cells? For example, you might need to create text headings for some columns and rows or to highlight the totals in a spreadsheet. To change the formatting of the data displayed in selected cells, select the cells, rows, or columns you want to format and then click the Font Family, Font Size, or Font Color buttons on the Format bar.

How to insert and delete rows and columns

What’s that? You forgot to add a row and now you’re three pages into your data entry? No problem. You can easily add or delete rows and columns. First, select the row or column that you want to delete or that you want to insert a row or column next to, and do one of the following:

  • For a row: Right-click and choose Add Row Above, Add Row Below, or Delete Row from the shortcut menu that appears.

  • For a column: Right-click and choose Add Columns Before, Add Columns After, or Delete Column from the shortcut menu that appears.

If you select multiple rows or columns and choose Add, Numbers inserts the same number of new rows or columns as you originally selected. You can also insert rows and columns using the Table menu.