How to navigate cell in “Z” direction?? Tab Tab Tab Enter

Have you ever thought of how nice would it be if you can navigate cell in a “Z” direction?


A typical table is presented below – Each row holds one record; each column holds one field for record.


The simple structure is important ( has a great article to explain why) for data analysis as it is Pivot-Table-friendly, formula-friendly, filter-friendly… however NOT input-friendly.

Why not input-friendly?  Think about if we need to input a new record manually, the direction of input is from Left to Right.  However, if we press Enter, the active cell moves down not to the right by default.  We need to use Tab or → (arrow key) to move across.  When we finish one record and need to input a second record, we need to return to the leftmost to start either by mouse click or by arrow key.  It’s quite cumbersome when we are talking about a lot of records to be input in this way.

Actually, there is a simple way (although it requires two keystrokes) to perform such “Z” movement in Excel.

Open a blank spreadsheet,

Try the following and observe the direction of movement:

Tab Tab Tab Enter (repeat the four key strokes)

Did you see?   When you press Tab, it moves to the right.  Press Tab again, it goes to right one cell further, and so on and so forth.  When you type Enter, the cell moves to the next row but return to exactly the column where you started to press Tab.

You may start at any cell.  Excel is so smart to “remember” where you started.

Wow… simple and nice.  Isn’t it?  Let’s experiment it and make it your own habit. 🙂


About MF

An Excel nerd who just transition into a role related to data analytics at current company......😊 Recently in love with Power Query and Power BI.😍 Keep learning new Excel and Power BI stuffs and be amazed by all the new discoveries.
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4 Responses to How to navigate cell in “Z” direction?? Tab Tab Tab Enter

  1. jan Martens says:

    When selecting the input range first, you don’t need Enter again. Tab alone does the job.


  2. Rajesh Sinha says:

    It’s simple but untouched,, ☺.


  3. vikas says:

    Good info


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