How to Fix Cursor Keys Not Working on Excel

Want to know how you can fix cursor keys that are not working on Excel?

Cursor keys have been an integral part of any computer keyboard. Using these keys, we can quickly navigate through pages, shift our text cursor forward or back, scroll down pages, and control characters on video games. 

In Microsoft Excel, the cursor keys can be used to switch from one cell to another. You can also use it to scroll down through your worksheet. 

However, there have been reports from users who encounter problems using the cursor keys in Excel. Based on the reports, nothing happens when users press the up, down, left, or right keys on their keyboards. 

Most of the time, this problem is caused by frozen panes on your worksheet or the scroll lock key is active. 

On the other hand, it can also be due to faulty hardware or improper configurations. 

In this guide, we will show you what to do if your cursor keys are not working correctly on Microsoft Excel.

Let’s get right into it!

1. Restart Your System. 

Whenever you encounter issues with Microsoft Excel, the first thing you should do is restart your computer. This should allow your system to reload its resources and eliminate temporary errors in the process. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. First, save any progress you have on Microsoft Excel
  2. After that, open the Start Menu by clicking the Windows icon in the Taskbar
  3. Lastly, access the Power Options tab and choose Restart
Restart your PC

Once done, go back to Microsoft Excel and see if the cursor keys are working. 

2. Disable Scroll Lock. 

If you are trying to see more cells in Excel but are unable to due to the cursor keys not working, it is possible that the scroll lock is enabled on your keyboard. To be sure, check your keyboard lights and ensure that scroll lock is not active. 

You should also ensure that the built-in scroll lock on Excel is turned off. Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. First, open an Excel file you want to work on. 
  2. After that, right-click at the bottom of the spreadsheet to open the Customize Status Bar tab.
  3. Lastly, look for Scroll Lock and ensure that it is turned off. 
Disable Scroll Lock

Restart Microsoft Excel afterward and check if the problem is solved. 

3. Disable Excel Add-Ins. 

Add-ins on Microsoft Excel could also be the reason your cursor keys are not working correctly. If you experience any scrolling issues on Excel, we recommend turning off your add-ins. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. On your computer, launch Microsoft Excel and open your workbook. 
  2. Next, go to File > More > Options
  3. Finally, access the Add-Ins tab and ensure that your add-ins are turned off. 
cursor keys not working on Excel

Relaunch Microsoft Excel afterward and check if the problem is solved. 

4. Exit Formula Edit Mode.

Microsoft Excel has a built-in mechanism that disables your cursor keys when you are inserting a formula on Excel or what users call ‘Formula Mode’. When you are in this mode, you cannot move your cursor. 

If you are indeed in ‘Formula Mode’, you can exit it by hitting the Enter or ESC key on your keyboard. 

5. Unfreeze Rows and Columns. 

If your dataset is currently frozen, you won’t be able to use your cursor keys in Microsoft Excel. To scroll through your workbook, you’ll need to unfreeze the panes in your worksheet. 

Here’s how you can do this: 

  1. Open the Microsoft Excel file you are having problems with. 
  2. Next, click on the View tab.
  3. Finally, click on Freeze Panes and choose Unfreeze Panes
cursor keys not working on Excel

Once done, restart Microsoft Excel and see if you can navigate using your cursor keys. 

6. Update Windows. 

There might be an issue with the version of Windows you’re using, causing the cursor keys not to work. To resolve this, we suggest updating your operating system to the latest version possible. 

Follow the steps below to update Windows: 

  1. First, open the Start Menu by clicking the Windows icon in the Taskbar
  2. After that, go to Settings.
  3. Lastly, click on Windows Update in the side menu and follow the prompts to install the update.

Restart your system afterward to apply the changes and check if the problem is solved. 

7. Update Keyboard Drivers. 

For your last option, we suggest updating your keyboard drivers if the cursor keys are still not working. 

Here’s how you can update your drivers: 

  1. On your computer, access the Start Menu and look for the Device Manager
  2. Launch it and expand the Keyboards tab. 
  3. Finally, right-click on your keyboard and choose Update Driver
cursor keys not working on Excel

Once done, restart your computer to apply the changes. 

That ends our guide for fixing your cursor keys if they are not working on Microsoft Exel. For your other questions, please leave a comment below, and we’ll do our best to help. 

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


  • John Sixto

    John is a staff writer at Saint and comes from a SAP ABAP development background. He has a Bachelors in IT and has been writing since 2018, with over 500 posts published. He loves to build PCs and has a deep curiosity in understanding how different components and configurations work. John spends hundreds of hours at a time, researching and testing the software and apps, before he proceeds to write about it. LinkedIn X (Twitter) Website

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