Chromebook: How to Move around a Spreadsheet

By Mark LaFay

Chromebook uses Sheets. As you enter more and more data into your spreadsheet on your Chromebook, you may find a need to hop around to different cells to update your entries. You can do this a number of ways with Sheets. To start, take a look at the arrow keys on your keyboard.

Google Sheets can contain as many as 400,000 cells with a maximum of 256 columns. You don’t have to create the cells to be able to use them, you can actually simply navigate to them by using your directional arrows.

Move one cell up, down, left, or right by pressing the corresponding directional arrow key once. If you want to quickly move several cells in any particular direction, press and hold the corresponding directional arrow.

Navigate with the mouse

You can also navigate your spreadsheet by using your touchpad or mouse. Click once on the desired cell to move the cursor and then begin typing using your keyboard. In the event you need to get to a section of your sheet that is several rows down or columns over, you can quickly navigate there by following these steps:

  1. Place two fingers on your touchpad and move them in the direction you desire.

    If your touchpad is configured to traditionally scroll, swiping up scrolls up, and swiping down scrolls down. On the other hand, if your touchpad is configured to Australian scroll, swiping up scrolls down, and swiping down scrolls up. Using your touchpad with a two-finger swipe scrolls you to the general area of the cell or cells that you want to edit.

  2. Using one finger on your touchpad, move the pointer to the cell you desire.

  3. Click your touchpad.

    The desired cell is now active.

Enter, delete, and insert data in cells

If you wish to overwrite the cell contents, simply start writing. If you wish to delete the cell contents, press Backspace. If you wish to insert additional data in a cell that already contains data, follow these steps:

  1. Click the desired cell once.

    The selected cell is highlighted with a blue border.

  2. Click the Formula bar.

    A blinking cursor appears in the Formula bar, indicating you can add, edit, or delete text using your keyboard.

  3. Add or edit text as you like, then press Enter.

Find and replace data

You can also use a feature called Find and Replace to find a specific piece of data within your spreadsheet. To find data using the Find and Replace feature, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Edit menu and choose Find and Replace.

    A pop-up window appears. In this window, you can specify what you want to search for and what you want the search string replaced with, among other options.

  2. Fill in the information you want to use for your search.

    You can specify any of the following options:

    • Find: The text or data you wish to find.

    • Replace: If you wish to replace the data for which you’re searching, simply enter new data here.

    • Search: In this section, you can specify the scope of the search in a drop down menu — every sheet in your document, the current sheet, or a specific range of cells. You can also check boxes to match case, entire contents of a cell or search formulas and formula expressions.

    • Match Case: Check this box if you wish to search for text exactly as you type it in the Find box.

    • Match Entire Cell Contents: The complete cell must match your search query.

    • Search Using Regular Expressions: Search for a particular character pattern.

    • Also Search within Formulas: Search formulas, not just formula calculations.

    Use the provided check boxes to fine-tune your search and reduce potentially inaccurate search results.

  3. Click Find.

  4. Sort through search results by clicking the Find button in the bottom-right of the Find and Replace pop-up window.

    As you navigate through the search results in your document, Sheets changes the highlight color on the cell to indicate where you are in the spreadsheet.

  5. When you successfully locate the word or words in your spreadsheet, click the X in the top-right corner of the Find and Replace pop-up window to close that window.

    The window disappears, but the text you searched for remains highlighted and ready to be deleted or otherwise edited.