Navigate the Excel User Interface

Navigate the Excel User Interface

Topics in this section and exercise file: 01_NavigatingExcel.xlsx

Know Your Cursors

Understanding and working with the cursors in Excel is a key fundamental. Most beginners or even regular everyday users of Excel can struggle if they haven’t been properly introduced.

Overview of All Cursors

The image below shows all the cursors that you will need to initially work within Excel.

Know Your Cursors

  1. Columns and Rows intersect to create cell references. Like A1 is technically Column A, and Row 1.
    There are: 1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns. Ref:
  2. Select is the Fat Crosshair, and all it will ever do is select.
  3. Drag and Drop appears on the edges of a selected cell or group of cells
  4. Autofill is the thin crosshair and it will add a pattern or copy cells based on the cell you have selected prior to autofill.
  5. Point and click any cell reference
  6. Use your arrow keys and they will move in that direction

Basic Navigation


Basic Selection

  1. Using the Fat Cross Hair, you can left click and hold and drag to select cells

Basic Selection

2. Using Shift Key and Arrows you can select cells

Shift Key and Arrow Keys to select

Drag and Drop

Drag and Drop is an amazing command when you are doing it on purpose. However, as a beginner, it can make you frustrated. Drag and Drop is the same as cut and paste, except you can do it with one swipe.

Example: We want to move these headings to A1:H1, we can easily select them, and drag and drop them in A1.

Drag and Drop


Autofill handle will be one of the best data commands you will ever use in Excel. It can also be damaging if you don’t know how to do use it to your advantage. Let’s look at the sample below and learn how to use it.

Autofill Handle

Autofill Smart Tag gives you additional options for what you have filled, but only appears when you use autofill. It also immediately disappears when you move on to another cell and start editing.

Autofill SmartTag

Tip: If you need the smart tag back, just autofill again.

Enter Cell Data

Point and start typing and it will overwrite a cell.

Tip: Hit ESC key if you accidentally type over something.

Edit an existing cell

If you want to type inside a cell you can do this by

  1. Double click the cell
  2. Click the cell and press F2 (Function key F2)
  3. Click the in the formula bar and start typing



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