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7 Ways to Fix the Arrow Keys Not Working in Excel

Arrow keys are convenient when scrolling through an Excel worksheet. You can use the scroll arrow keys on your keyboard to toggle between nearby cells in your Excel document. The arrow keys are known to malfunction on rare occasions. Understand how to fix Arrow Keys not working in Excel by reading this article.

It can be challenging to navigate through an Excel worksheet when using a mouse to pinpoint intricate details in your database. Navigating between nearby cells requires small and precise movements. It is challenging to use a mouse because its calibration is not suitable for small and exact navigation.

You can use the scroll arrow keys to navigate easily between nearby cells. The scroll arrow keys are perfect for editing and transitioning to nearby cells when typing because your hands don’t leave the keyboard.

However, the arrow keys can stop working when you need them. This article explains how to fix Arrow Keys not working in Excel.

Reasons why the arrow keys can stop working in Excel

Various reasons can cause the arrow keys to stop working on your Excel document. Below is a list of problems that prevent Scroll arrow keys from functioning.

  • The Scroll Lock key on your keyboard is active.
  • Your Excel document is in Formula entry mode.
  • You have installed an Excel Add-In program that conflicts with your Scroll feature.
  • Your Excel document is in Protection mode.
  • Complex formulas in your Excel document are processed.
  • The freeze panes on your Excel worksheet are locking the visible area on your sheet.
  • The Sticky keys feature has glitches that prevent the Scroll Lock from turning off.

1. Troubleshooting and fixing the Scroll Lock key 

The common cause of malfunctioning arrow keys is that the Scroll Lock key feature is turned On. Follow the steps below to resolve the Scroll Lock key issue on your computer.

Step 1: You can troubleshoot the Scroll Lock key issue by looking at the keyboard scroll lock LED light. Press the Scroll lock key on your keyboard to turn off the LED indicator light.

Scroll lock key on your keyboard

Step 2: You can check the Status bar on your Excel sheet if your keyboard does not have a Scroll lock LED light. You can do this by right-clicking on the Status bar at the bottom of your Worksheet and confirming that the Scroll Lock option is off. Click on the Scroll Lock option if the status is On to deactivate the Scroll Lock feature.

Excel sheet Scroll lock

Step 3: Mac users with an extended keyboard can use the F14 + Shift keys to deactivate the Scroll Lock on an Apple OS.

2. Disengage the formula entry mode in Excel 

The formula entry mode is the second most prevalent issue for the arrow keys not working in Excel. You can use the steps below to troubleshoot and fix the arrow keys on your Excel sheet.

Step 1: You can confirm if the formula entry mode is active by checking the Formula bar at the top of your sheet. Ensure that the Formula bar has an equal sign (=) at the beginning to fix the arrow keys problem using this method.

Step 2: Press the Enter key on your keyboard to exit the formula entry mode and use the arrow keys to scroll.

exit the formula entry

3. Uninstall Add-ins that conflict with Excel

Conflicting Add-ins are easy to troubleshoot because the Scroll arrow keys stop working after installing an Excel Add-in program. Follow the procedure below to disable recently installed or malicious Add-ins.

Step 1: Click on the File tab at the top left corner of your screen. Click on Options to access advanced options.

Click on Options to access advanced options

Step 2: Click on the Add-ins option and then click on the Excel Add-ins option before you can click on the Go option. Unselect all the Add-ins to ensure the best results, and click on Ok to confirm your changes.

Excel Add-ins option

Unselect all the Add-ins

4. Deactivate protection mode in Excel

Protection mode ensures that you are not vulnerable to malicious attacks when you open your document. It safeguards Excel files sent via email. You can use the steps to deactivate the protection mode on your Excel file.

Step 1: Click on the Review tab at the top of your Worksheet. Click on the Unprotect option at the top of your sheet.

Step 2: You can use the Protect Sheet or Protect Workbook option to protect your document after using the Scroll arrow keys.


5. Confirm if Excel is processing complex formulas

You can check the CPU and GPU status of Excel to troubleshoot if complex formulas are in the process stage. You can fix this problem by waiting for the complex calculations to finish before using the arrow keys.

Excel is processing complex formulas

6. Unfreeze panes on your Worksheet

Unfreeze columns and rows that are inside the view of your current sheet. Use the Zoom Out (+) feature at the bottom of your screen to use the arrow keys outside the frozen columns and rows.

Unfreeze panes on your Worksheet

 7. Deactivating your Sticky Keys feature

The Sticky Keys feature in Windows sometimes conflicts with the Scroll Arrow key feature. You can disable the Sticky Keys feature in Windows to resolve the arrow navigation issue in Excel.

Disable the Sticky Keys feature on your PC by pressing the ALT + CTRL + WINDOWS + SHIFT keys simultaneously on your keyboard.

Deactivating your Sticky Keys feature