How to Fix F4 Not Working on Microsoft Excel

Is the F4 lock key not working on Microsoft Excel?

When working on large workbooks in Excel, you’ll be dealing with tons of numbers and hundreds of cells. Due to this, it is important to keep the values of each cell correct to ensure that the values you’ll end up with are accurate. 

Fortunately, Microsoft Excel has a shortcut key that lets you lock the values of cells in your worksheet. 

If you need to secure a value on Excel, you simply have to hit the ‘F4’ key to lock it. 

However, we’ve received various complaints regarding the F4 key not working on Microsoft Excel. 

Most of the time, this issue occurs due to outdated versions of the program. On the other hand, it can also be due to third-party apps, Excel add-ins, improper configurations, or faulty hardware. 

To help you out, we’ve decided to make a guide for fixing the ‘F4’ key if it is not working correctly on Microsoft Excel. 

Let’s get right into it!

1. Restart Your Computer. 

As a common practice, we always recommend users restart their computer if they encounter issues with Excel or any other app. This should reload their system resources and resolve underlying errors. 

Here’s how you can restart your PC: 

  1. First, press the Windows key on your keyboard to open the Start Menu
  2. After that, access the Power Options tab. 
  3. Lastly, choose Restart and wait for your system to reboot. 
Restart your PC

Go back to Microsoft Excel to check if the problem is solved. 

2. Activate Edit Mode. 

If you have selected a cell and press ‘F4’ right away, then it won’t change the cell to an absolute cell reference. To avoid issues, you’ll have to ensure that edit mode is activated on the cell that you want to lock. 

Check out the steps below to activate edit mode: 

  1. First, identify the cell that contains the value you want to lock. 
  2. After that, double-click on it or hit F2
  3. Lastly, press F4 on your keyboard to lock the cell. On the other hand, you can also try pressing Fn + F4 if you are using a laptop. 

Proceed to the next solution below if the issue persists. 

3. Close Third-Party Applications. 

There might be some applications running on your computer which affect the functionality of the ‘F4’ key. Due to this, we suggest closing any third-party application you have running that could interfere with the software or has similar shortcut keys with Excel.

F4 not working on Microsoft Excel

Access the Task Manager on your computer by pressing the CTRL + SHIFT + ESC keys and close unused applications. 

4. Disable Excel Add-Ins. 

Microsoft Excel add-ins could also be the reason the F4 key is not working on your worksheet. Due to this, we suggest disabling your add-ins if they are not needed for your current workload and see if the issue goes away. 

Check out the steps below to turn off your add-ins: 

  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. 
F4 not working on Microsoft Excel

Head to the next solution if the issue persists. 

5. Update Microsoft Excel. 

Outdated versions of Microsoft Excel could also be the reason the ‘F4’ key is not working on your worksheet. If this is the case, try updating the software to the latest version to patch bugs and other issues. 

Follow the steps below to update Excel: 

  1. First, launch Microsoft Excel on your computer. 
  2. After that, click on File > Accounts
  3. Lastly, access the Update Options tab and click on Update Now or Enable Updates
F4 not working on Microsoft Excel

Restart your computer to apply the changes and see if the problem is solved. 

That sums up our guide for fixing the F4 key if it’s not working on Microsoft Excel. If you have questions, please leave a comment below, and we’ll be glad 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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