Excel arrow keys stop working (NOT SCROLL LOCK) RRS feed

  • Question

  • Excel Office Pro Plus 2013 on windows 7 64 bit.

    This has happened since I loaded it.. older excel never has this issue on same host.

    When I am working in a spreadsheet and moving around with arrow keys.. they stop working randomly.

    It is NOT scroll lock... I can turn scroll lock on and off no effect.

    IF I change to another tab then back to the same tab .. the arrow keys work again!!!

    This happens in many spreadsheets... seems like the larger they are the worse it it.. VERY annoying and makes it unusable!!

    I have all the latest patches and have rebooted .. this has been going on since I loaded excel.. I was hoping a patch would fix it.. 

    but it keeps happening randomly... 

    ANY ideas?



    Monday, March 23, 2015 3:25 PM


All replies

  • Hi Ken,

    Thanks for posting in MSDN forum.

    Since the issue is more relate to the end-user, I'd like to move it to Excel IT pro forum.

    The reason why we recommend posting appropriately is you will get the most qualified pool of respondents, and other partners who read the forums regularly can either share their knowledge or learn from your interaction with us.

    Thanks for your understanding.

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    Click HERE to participate the survey.

    Tuesday, March 24, 2015 2:41 AM
  • it sounds like shotcut keyboard conflict, since you have check the scroll lock. you may check some 3-ty program or add-in if who caused it. clean boot is a good choose.


    • Edited by robbery kr Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:01 AM
    Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:01 AM
  • Clean booted several times.. removed ALL add-ons..  understand it is not like scroll lock is on.. NOTHING moves.. arrow keys are dead... even the mouse wheel will not move anything on spreadsheet.. 
    when i click another tab then back ...all works again..

    I AM LOST.. 

    no idea where to go from here.. seems like bug

    Wednesday, March 25, 2015 5:49 PM
  • another possibilities :

    1)Open the virtual keybaord in your system, and turn off Scroll Lock from there.

    2)Reinstall keyboard drive



    • Edited by robbery kr Thursday, March 26, 2015 1:34 AM
    • Marked as answer by George123345 Tuesday, April 7, 2015 8:41 AM
    Thursday, March 26, 2015 1:33 AM
  • Hi,

    Just checking in to see if the information was helpful. Please let us know if you would like further assistance.


    George Zhao
    Forum Support
    Come back and mark the replies as answers if they help and unmark them if they provide no help.
    If you have any feedback on our support, please click "tnfsl@microsoft.com"

    Monday, March 30, 2015 1:49 AM
  • Hi,
    I'm marking the reply as answer as there has been no update for a couple of days.
    If you come back to find it doesn't work for you, please reply to us and unmark the answer.


    George Zhao
    Forum Support
    Come back and mark the replies as answers if they help and unmark them if they provide no help.
    If you have any feedback on our support, please click "tnfsl@microsoft.com"

    Tuesday, April 7, 2015 8:41 AM
  • I am experiencing the exact same problem.  Running Excel 2013 on 64 bit Windows 10 machine.

    When the macro changes to view a worksheet with Panes set, most times the arrows will not change the view.  Sometimes they move the cursor off the page, sometimes the cursor is non-responsive.  Also, cannot click on the Close worksheet (upper right) when in this condition.

    If I click on another tab and then return to the initial worksheet, all is well.  

    REALLY frustrating!


    • Proposed as answer by Jeffrey61 Friday, July 13, 2018 6:36 PM
    Monday, March 14, 2016 5:40 PM
  • Following up on previous post/request.  It has nothing to do with the Scroll Lock being on or off.  

    I have a very simple macro activated by a button on a form that simply switches to a new tab.

    Private Sub OptionButton11_Click()


        Application.GoTo Sheets("cf").Range("g7"), True
    End Sub

    Once on the new worksheet, the arrow keys and mouse may or may not work.

    Again, if I click on another worksheet and then return to the previously selected worksheet, it "unsticks" whatever was stuck and things work fine until I use a similar macro to change worksheets.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



    Monday, March 14, 2016 6:59 PM
  • Hi,

    I have the same problem, already posted a question about it, but so far no solution.

    The only thing that I found out that if I press "Enter" in jumps to another already opened Excel file, and when going back to the first one it works again. 

    I am using Excel 2016 in Windows 10.



    Wednesday, April 19, 2017 12:58 PM
  • Also having the same issue, and NOT due to scroll lock.

    Excel randomly freezes the cell so I can't move it, but if I switch to another workbook and switch back, it works again.

    Super frustrating as I use the Excel for hours a day and 98% time it's using the keyboard, not mouse. Please help, Microsoft!

    Thursday, June 22, 2017 1:30 AM
  • The work-around to click on another worksheet helped me just now, so thank you!
    Thursday, September 21, 2017 3:59 PM
  • Did you REALLY just tell the OP that s/he KNOWINGLY posted inappropriately? WOW. My theory is that s/he was doing the best s/he could and telling him/her to do it appropriately is TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE. and obnoxious.

    David E. Nalepa

    Saturday, December 23, 2017 12:17 AM
  • Its great that when your answer is totally useless and the OP doesn't bother to come back ...you left no room for any alternatives to your "answer", right? that you are able to discern that your answer "solved" the problem. Almost as if you DON'T CARE whether the issue was solved, just want to pad your statistics.

    David E. Nalepa

    Saturday, December 23, 2017 12:21 AM
  • David, your comments suggest you've misunderstood a few things -

    "when your answer is totally useless and  .... that you are able to discern that your answer "solved" the problem"

    George didn't mark his own answer. 

    "just want to pad your statistics."

    AFAIK marking someone else's answer would have done nothing for George's statistics.

    "left no room for any alternatives to your "answer", right?"

    Not right. After giving notice the OP was invited to un-mark the answer if it didn't help. The thread wasn't closed and others subsequently gave alternative answers, eg activate a different sheet.

    The alternative suggestions may indeed be more appropriate to the OP's particular issue, the OP never responded so we'll never know.

    FWIW scroll lock is often the reason even when people at first believe it isn't, need to show it in the status bar to be sure. As it's not indicated by default, and newer keyboards don't include it, need to right click the status bar and customize. 

    Saturday, December 23, 2017 4:01 PM
  • I have experienced this situation numerous times since upgrading to Excel 2016 (running on Win 7 Pro 64 bit). All patches/updates applied. Most often I am modifying a value in a cell, sometimes editing a formula, but often just changing a data value and when I hit enter all of a sudden my cursor keys are disabled. It is MORE than annoying and very "scary" if working on a large sheet and all of a sudden your keyboard input is seemingly ignored. Clicking over to a new tab (or creating a new tab if one doesn't exist) and then clicking back to the original tab does seem to restore cursor key functionality but that is a work around and not a resolution. This is definitely not a scroll lock issue and it is not an end user issue - this is an Excel / operating system glitch.

    FWIW Office 2016, compared to Office 2007, feels radically unstable at times - there are always issues with Outlook and Word stopping and restarting and this issue with Excel seemingly locked up because you can't move is just another frustrating problem that is being overlooked.

    Tuesday, January 16, 2018 4:08 AM
  • If it's not "Scroll Lock", it could be you need to unfreeze the panes. :)
    Wednesday, March 28, 2018 4:20 PM
  • I had the same problem but this is what I did to fix the problem.

    1. Opened "Settings" by typing Settings on the search area. (Windows 10)

    2. Then clicked on "Ease of Access".

    3. Then selected "keyboard" from the left pane.

    4. Then Click to "Turn on the On-screen keyboard" to "ON" position.

    5. Then click on the "ScrLK" button to turn it off/on

    This is how I solved my problem with the Excel worksheet.

    • Proposed as answer by podfalcon Saturday, April 7, 2018 12:13 PM
    Friday, April 6, 2018 1:17 PM
  • It's not likely a frozen pane.  Even in a frozen pane the arrow key allows you to move about. 

    Thursday, April 12, 2018 6:40 PM
  • Thank you so much. Perfect, succinct outline to the solution of my problem.

    Friday, April 20, 2018 8:30 PM
  • This worked for me. I was having the same issues on a large dataset. On a Windows 10 machine using Excel 2013.
    Monday, April 23, 2018 1:40 PM
  • I had the same problem, and was able to fix it.

    Not sure what it's called, but the button to the right of the printscreen button, top right of the keyboard, which has a screen image on it containing an up-down arrow... that button was set. I toggled it off and it fixed the problem.

    Thursday, May 3, 2018 1:18 PM
  • Amazing! Thank you, worked straight away, this needs to be top of the list, have spent the last half hour trying to find a resolution. Thanks Again :) 
    Tuesday, May 29, 2018 12:07 AM
  • Hey you just solved my problem! Thanks.
    Friday, July 13, 2018 6:36 PM
  • Press "Fn" and "Scroll Lock" keys at the same time
    Friday, August 24, 2018 12:17 PM
  • Hi There!

    Were you able to solve your problem?

    I've had the issue since upgrading to office 2016 as well.  I'm on my personal laptop using the latest version of Windows 10 with all the patches but had the same issues on my work laptop. Randomly, I will not be able to move the cursor (selected cell) with the arrow keys.  In addition, i can't click in the formula bar to edit it.  flipping back and forth between worksheets stops the problem for a short while.  I also learned that saving the document will also fix the problem for a short while until it randomly comes back.  It must be a bug.

    I tried the steps below with no success.  

    Please let me know if you found the cause and or the solution.


    Wednesday, August 29, 2018 2:16 PM
  • I still have this issue with excel 2016 and W10. Shifting to another worksheet helps until editing or filling-in a cell. Then the arrow keys and also the F2 key won't function anymore. Interesting is that the arrow keys still function in VBA and even in a new workbook they function. It seems a bug related somewhere to the workbook to me and is very annoying. I hope someone knows a solution.


    Sunday, September 9, 2018 12:39 PM
  • We have a client machine that doing the same. Excel 2016/W7.

    She has to closed the entire excel file and then reopened it for the arrow keys/typing to work again. I did try the switch to a new sheet and back in the tabs do get around this (at least the 1 time I saw this issue and trying it).

    We already tried uninstalling and reinstalling office and updating it but it didn't help as this issue happened today (we reinstalled a few weeks ago when she told us this was happening).

    Any one else have any ideas what else we can try?
    • Edited by Master_Ne0 Monday, September 17, 2018 4:37 PM
    Monday, September 17, 2018 3:38 PM
  • which function key?  I do not see Fn - thank you!  

    Monday, November 5, 2018 5:55 PM
  • This is helpful. I never use onscreen keyboard b/c it's not a touchscreen. This showed how to get it fixed.
    Thursday, March 21, 2019 10:41 PM
  • THANK YOU Shovana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • Edited by NatMB Tuesday, April 9, 2019 5:32 PM
    Tuesday, April 9, 2019 5:31 PM
  • You may be within a cell in a different excel workbook. Navigate to any other open excel workbook and hit escape, to ensure you are not in edit mode within a cell. Then go back to the other workbook and it should be resolved. This is one cause, there may be others. 


    Wednesday, June 5, 2019 3:08 AM
  • Check your freeze panes aren’t on
    Monday, September 9, 2019 8:39 PM
  • This worked to correct the same issue i was having.  Thanks very much.
    Saturday, October 19, 2019 4:26 PM
  • This worked for me.

    Open a new window - Ctrl + N

    Close the previous window  Ctrl + W.

    Save - Ctrl + S.

    Its a glitch and gets sorted out with this

    Tuesday, October 29, 2019 4:41 AM
  • This can be related to accidentally setting the Freeze Panes function to freeze the visible area of the worksheet.  Go to the View menu and if "Unfreeze Panes" is displayed under the Freeze Panes menu then click it to get rid of it.  
    Tuesday, November 26, 2019 4:28 AM
  • this really wan't helpful.

    Saturday, January 4, 2020 5:08 AM
  • have you figured this out?  I'm in excel 365 and after I search (ctrl-F) I can't navigate until I toggle away and back

    Saturday, January 4, 2020 5:11 AM
  • Here's my experience in the hope that it may lead somebody to an answer. It's nothing to do with scroll lock, being in a cell or freeze panes.

    I have a VBA sub that's triggered on Worksheet_Deactivate. The sheet that is OPENED to trigger the deactivation winds up with the problem: cells can be selected by mouse click, scroll wheel still works with the top row frozen, arrow keys and Enter and Tab will confirm a typed entry but WILL NOT move off a cell. The deactivated sheet is fine.

    I checked the code line by line and it was wsXXX.Protect Password:="xxx" that did it. It didn't matter if the line was in the sub module or Worksheet_Deactivate, as soon as the script protected the sheet I lost the ability to move cells, with the keyboard, on the sheet I'd selected. Like others here, if I select another tab and go back it clears the problem.

    I'll be able to include a work around but don't like having to. I have many workbooks with similar controls (lines of code triggered by buttons or changes that unprotect a sheet, make changes and re-protect) and I've never struck this before. I don't know why this workbook is different.

    Sunday, January 5, 2020 11:31 PM
  • that worked for me too, thank you so much sir!
    Monday, March 2, 2020 3:12 PM