What is the insertion point in Excel and how is it used for data entry?

In spreadsheets and other programs such as word processors, the insertion point is represented by: vertical blinking line which indicates where keyboard or mouse input will appear in certain situations. The insertion point is often called Cursor

Remark † These instructions apply to versions of Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and Excel for Office 365.

  1. Active Cell vs Insertion Point
  2. Enter data in the active cell
  3. Data Entry vs Editing Mode in Excel
  4. Exit Edit Mode

Active Cell vs Insertion Point

In word processing programs such as Microsoft Word, the insertion point is usually displayed on the screen from the moment the application is opened. However, in Excel, instead of an insertion point, an individual worksheet cell is surrounded by a black outline.

The selected cell is called the active cell.

Enter data in the active cell

When you start typing in Word, the text is inserted at the insertion point. However, when you start typing in a spreadsheet program, the data is entered into the active cell.

Data Entry vs Editing Mode in Excel

When you start Excel, it is usually located in data entry mode: , as evidenced by the presence of an active cell contour. After entering data in a cell, if you want to change the data, you can activate edit mode instead of retyping the entire contents of the cell.

Only in edit mode the insertion point is visible in Excel. You can activate Edit mode in three different ways:

  • Double click hover over the cell you want to edit; the insertion point is in the cell where you double-click.
  • Click hover once over the cell you want to edit and then press the key F2 on keyboard; the insertion point is in the cell at the end of the cell contents.
  • Click on once, hover over the cell you want to edit and then click inside formula bars is located above the worktop; the insertion point is at formula bars where you clicked.

When Excel is enabled edit mode you will see the word Change in the lower left corner of the worksheet. Some commands are not available in this mode, such as changing the alignment of the cell contents.

Exit Edit Mode

After editing the contents of a cell, you can exit edit mode and save the changes by pressing the key. to push Input on the keyboard or by clicking another cell in the worksheet.

To close from edit mode and undo any changes to the cell contents, press the key ESC on keyboard.

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