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Change 'edit current cell' shortcut in Excel Apps
If you switch between Excel for the PC and Excel on the Mac (either 2004 or 2008), you probably know that there are many differences in the keyboard shortcuts between the two platforms. To make switching back and forth more seamless, you can use Excel's ability (or the system's) to remap keyboard shortcuts on the Mac to match those on the PC (or vice versa, of course). However, there's an undocumented but often-used keyboard shortcut that seems immune to these solutions -- the keyboard shortcut for "edit in cell."

On a PC, you can edit the current cell's contents by pressing F2; on a Mac, it's Control-U (F2 copies the cell's contents). I much prefer the simplicity of F2 over Control-U, however, it doesn't seem possible to customize this shortcut. This "edit in cell" command doesn't appear in any of Excel's menus, nor does it appear in the list of all commands in the keyboard shortcuts section of Excel's customization dialog. Google searching didn't turn up any simple solutions, so I built my own using Butler, although any tool capable of creating macros should work fine.

Open Butler's configuration screen, and create a new Shortcuts item. On the Keys tab, type Control-U, then switch to the Triggers tab. In the Hot Key box, press F2 (you'll see a warning about some programs not responding if you use F2; just click "Use F2 Anyway" to ignore the warning. Change the Exceptions pop-up from Not to Only, and in the text box below, type Excel,Microsoft Excel to specify the programs where this shortcut works. (On my Macs, I had to list both versions of the name to make this trick work in Excel 2004 and Excel 2008.)

That's it; from now on, you can press F2 to edit the current cell in Excel on the Mac.
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Change 'edit current cell' shortcut in Excel
Authored by: chabig on Jul 15, '08 08:25:22AM

I never knew there was a "command" to edit a cell. I just double-click the cell to edit.



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Change 'edit current cell' shortcut in Excel
Authored by: Jai Gill on Jul 21, '08 01:03:25AM

It's brilliant! I use it all the time in Excel... Problem is that I am trying my hardest to move across to Numbers. Is this feature available in Numbers and does anyone know what the key combination is?

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JG



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Change 'edit current cell' shortcut in Excel
Authored by: GlacierRacing on Jul 31, '08 09:06:52PM

The "edit cell" shortcut for Numbers is alt-enter. I just followed this hint and used Butler to map that to F2 only for Numbers and it works great! Having to click on the cell to edit it has been driving me nuts.


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Dave



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Change 'edit current cell' shortcut in Excel
Authored by: Jai Gill on Nov 09, '08 05:20:12PM

Thanks! I like it...


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JG



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Change 'edit current cell' shortcut in Excel
Authored by: gdelfino on Jul 15, '08 08:50:13AM

Thank you for the CTRL-U hint.



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Change 'edit current cell' shortcut in Excel
Authored by: osxpounder on Jul 16, '08 09:43:38AM

Yes, thanks for telling us the Mac version's shortcut, too. I began using Excel heavily the past 2 weeks at work (life isn't always so dull), and kept hitting F2 because I *hate* reaching for the mouse when typing.

This will help loads, just knowing that I can do CTRL-U! I appreciate it.



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Change 'edit current cell' shortcut in Excel
Authored by: Cantus on Jul 15, '08 12:17:55PM

I've been looking at this shortcut for ages!! It was so handy in the PC version!

Just last week I discovered Command-T, which cycles a cell reference from relative to absolute, that I was so fond of in the Windows version.



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Change 'edit current cell' shortcut in Excel
Authored by: Gabs on Jul 21, '08 06:47:34AM

I've also looked for this shortcut; several times over the last fifteen years across versions but never found it. Not online or in Excel's own help files. Thank you! Control-U will do just fine for now.



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Does this still work in Excel v12.1.2?
Authored by: mkoistinen on Sep 17, '08 06:48:38AM

I've tried this - using Butler 4.1.6 and Microsoft Excel 2008 (v12.1.2) and it doesn't work. After setting up the Keystroke in Butler (F2) to send the keystrokes CTRL-U, I restarted Excel and tried it, sadly, F2 still initiates a pasteboard copy. I double checked that I had the Exceptions setup properly in Butler and I did indeed. Next, to test, I removed all the exceptions, and for kicks, replaced the Keystrokes with "This is a test". Again, restarting Excel to test, F2 *still* does a copy and ignores my Butler settings. I tried F2 in Skype and Text Wrangler (stuff I just had open) and it did type "This is a test". I also tried adding a delay, with no difference in results in Excel. Did I do something wrong, or did the latest Microsoft update actively prevent Butler from working?



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Does this still work in Excel v12.1.2?
Authored by: robg on Nov 11, '08 06:19:52AM

Works fine for me in Excel 2008; I just tested again to be sure. e-mail me privately if you'd like more assistance (my username here at the hints' domain).

-rob.



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Does this still work in Excel v12.1.2?
Authored by: mkoistinen on Nov 12, '08 03:12:43AM

It works well for me too, now. Although, I'm since upgraded MS Office to version v12.1.4. I wonder if this is the difference?

Thanks for following up and keep up the great work!



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Change 'edit current cell' shortcut in Excel
Authored by: ~Von on Mar 08, '11 04:39:24PM

Google lead me to this post...I too hate Control+U in Mac XL and miss f2 from Win XL. I am using Butler 4.1.6 and did the described tip and it works like a charm in XL 2011. I also used this same tip to set up the Win XL AutoSum Alt+= (Mac XL is Shift+Command+T) and it too is working perfectly.

THx!

~Von



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Change 'edit current cell' shortcut in Excel
Authored by: mouneet on May 14, '11 02:57:35AM

Thanks a lot. I didn't know the shortcut was Ctrl + U on a Mac.. Used to struggle with the mouse every time.. Now, I know.. Thanks a lot. Butler is a paid software and hence I don't see too much value in investing on it just for a change in shortcut.. Because, I am not a programmer anyways, and won't be needing Butler for any other purpose.. But, anyways Thanks.



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Change 'edit current cell' shortcut in Excel
Authored by: CJYetman on Apr 16, '13 08:50:06AM

KeyRemap4MacBook has built-in functionality for this, and it's free. (apparently it works with all Macs, not just MacBooks)
get it here: http://pqrs.org/macosx/keyremap4macbook/

I prefer using fn+Return to edit cells. You can do that with KeyRemap4MacBook too if you add your own settings. Follow the instructions here to add your own settings: http://pqrs.org/macosx/keyremap4macbook/document-private-xml.html

(in step 7, I added this to my private.xml file: "__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::RETURN, ModifierFlag::FN | ModifierFlag::NONE, KeyCode::U, ModifierFlag::CONTROL_L")



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