By default, if you press the Enter key after you type in some data, Excel moves the selected cell down. This can result in a lot of extra keystrokes or mouse clicks, if you need to enter data by row rather than column. Of course, you can change this action, but it’s kind of a pain if it’s just for a one-time use.
A more simple method is to select the range of cells that will take the data first. Then as you type, Excel will advance the selected cell in the same manner you made your selection.
Below is a simple table that needs some data. Note that the row for the year 2011 highlighted. This was done by dragging the mouse over the cells B5 to D5.
If you start typing data now, after you press the Enter key, the selected cell will now move to the right!
We can take this feature a step further by selecting the entire input range: B5 to D7. Since this is a contiguous range, Excel will default to the down movement, but when you reach the end of a column, it will jump up to the first row of the next column.
If you still wanted to input by row, but wanted to select the entire range, you could select each row while holding down the Ctrl key. The only quirk here is that input will start in the last row you selected and may jump around which may or may not be a problem for you.
As a side note, if you want to change the default action:
- Click the Microsoft Office button (the round icon in the top-left corner of Excel) and open the drop down menu.
- Click on the Excel Options located at the bottom of the menu to bring up the Excel Options dialog box.
- Click on Advanced in the left column.
- Change the Direction where it says “After pressing Enter, move selection”