Enter data in worksheet cells

You can enter numbers (with or without fixed decimal points), text, dates, or times in one cell, in several cells at once, or on more than one worksheet (worksheet: The primary document that you use in Excel to store and work with data. Also called a spreadsheet. A worksheet consists of cells that are organized into columns and rows; a worksheet is always stored in a workbook.).

 Note   This topic is about entering data manually. For automatically entering data or data in a series, see Fill data in worksheet cells.

 Important   A worksheet may have been protected by you or someone else to prevent data from being changed accidentally. On a protected worksheet, you may be able to select cells to view the data, but you won't be able to type information in cells that are locked. In most cases, a protected worksheet should not be unprotected unless you have permission to do so from the person who created it. To unprotect the worksheet (if appropriate), point to Protection on the Tools menu, and then click Unprotect Sheet. If a password was set when the sheet protection was applied, you must type that password to unprotect the sheet.

What do you want to do?

Enter numbers or text

Enter numbers with a fixed decimal point

Enter dates or times

Enter the same data into several cells at once

Enter the same data on other worksheets

Enter numbers or text

  1. On the worksheet, click a cell.
  2. Type the numbers or text that you want, and then press ENTER or TAB.

Tip    To start data on a new line within a cell, you can enter a line break by pressing ALT+ENTER.

 Notes 

  • By default, pressing ENTER moves the selection down one cell, and pressing TAB moves the selection one cell to the right. For the TAB key, you cannot change the direction of the move, but you can specify a different direction for the ENTER key. On the Tools menu, click Options. On the Edit tab, select the Move selection after Enter check box, and then click the direction that you want in the Direction box.
  • When you press TAB to enter data in several cells in a row and then press ENTER at the end of that row, the selection moves to the beginning of the next row.
  • A cell may display ##### when it contains data that has a number format that is wider than the column width. To increase the width of the column, point to Column on the Format menu, and then click AutoFit Selection.
  • To display multiple lines of text inside a cell, click Cells on the Format menu, click the Alignment tab, and then select the Wrap text check box. If the text is a single long word, the characters won't wrap; you can widen the column or decrease the font size to see all the text. If not all text is visible after you wrap the text, you may need to adjust the height of the row. Point to Row on the Format menu, and then click AutoFit.
  • In Microsoft Excel, the appearance of a number in a cell is separate from the number that is stored in the cell. When a number that you enter is rounded, in most circumstances, only the display of the number is rounded. Calculations use the actual number stored in the cell, not the number as it is displayed. You can change the display of numbers on the Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box (Format menu, Cells command).
  • To enter numbers as text, first apply the Text format to empty cells on the Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box (Format menu, Cells command), and then type the numbers in the formatted cells. Numbers that you typed before you applied the Text format to the cells need to be reentered as text. To quickly reenter numbers as text, select each cell, press F2, and then press ENTER.

Top of Page Top of Page

Enter numbers with a fixed decimal point

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Edit tab.
  2. Select the Fixed decimal check box.
  3. In the Places box, enter a positive number for digits to the right of the decimal point or a negative number for digits to the left of the decimal point.

For example, if you enter 3 in the Places box and then type 2834 in a cell, the value will be 2.834. If you enter -3 in the Places box and then type 283, the value will be 283000.

  1. On the worksheet, click a cell, and then enter the number that you want.

 Note   Data that you entered before selecting the Fixed decimal option is not affected.

Tip    To temporarily override the Fixed decimal option, type a decimal point when you enter the number.

Top of Page Top of Page

Enter dates or times

  1. On the worksheet, click a cell.
  2. Type a date or time as follows:
    • For a date, use a slash mark or a hyphen to separate the parts of a date; for example, type 9/5/2002 or 5-Sep-2002.

Tip    To enter the current date, press CTRL+; (semicolon).

  • For a time that is based on the 12-hour clock, type a space, and then type a or p after the time; for example, 9:00 p. Otherwise, Excel enters the time as AM.

Tip    To enter the current time, press CTRL+SHIFT+; (semicolon).

 Notes 

  • To enter a date or time that stays current when you reopen a worksheet, you can use the TODAY and NOW functions.
  • When a date or time is typed in a cell, it appears either in a default date or time format or in a format that was applied to the cell before the date or time was entered. The default date or time format is based on settings on the Date tab in the Regional Settings dialog box (Control Panel). If these date settings have changed, any existing dates or times in your workbooks that have not been formatted by using the Format Cells command also change.
  • If you want to use the default date or time format, click the cell that contains the date or time, and then press CTRL+SHIFT+# or CTRL+SHIFT+@.

Top of Page Top of Page

Enter the same data into several cells at once

  1. Select the cells into which you want to enter the same data. The cells do not have to be adjacent.

ShowHow to select cells

To select Do this
A single cell Click the cell, or press the arrow keys to move to the cell.
A range (range: Two or more cells on a sheet. The cells in a range can be adjacent or nonadjacent.) of cells Click the first cell of the range, and then drag to the last cell.
A large range of cells Click the first cell in the range, and then hold down SHIFT while you click the last cell in the range. You can scroll to make the last cell visible.
All cells on a worksheet

Click the Select All button.

Select All button

Nonadjacent cells or cell ranges Select the first cell or range of cells, and then hold down CTRL while you select the other cells or ranges.
An entire row or column

Click the row or column heading.

Worksheet showing row and column headings

Callout 1 Row heading
Callout 2 Column heading
Adjacent rows or columns Drag across the row or column headings. Or select the first row or column; then hold down SHIFT while you select the last row or column.
Nonadjacent rows or columns Select the first row or column, and then hold down CTRL while you select the other rows or columns.
More or fewer cells than the active selection Hold down SHIFT and click the last cell that you want to include in the new selection. The rectangular range between the active cell (active cell: The selected cell in which data is entered when you begin typing. Only one cell is active at a time. The active cell is bounded by a heavy border.) and the cell that you click becomes the new selection.

 Note   To cancel a selection of cells, click any cell on the worksheet.

  1. In the active cell, type the data, and then press CTRL+ENTER.

Tip     You can also enter the same data into several cells by using the fill handle (fill handle: The small black square in the lower-right corner of the selection. When you point to the fill handle, the pointer changes to a black cross.) Selected cell with fill handle to automatically fill data in worksheet cells. For more information, see Fill data in worksheet cells.

Top of Page Top of Page

Enter the same data on other worksheets

If you already entered data on one worksheet, you can quickly fill this data into corresponding cells on other worksheets.

  1. Click the tab of the worksheet that contains the data. Then hold down CTRL while you click the tabs of the worksheets into which you want to fill the data.

 Note   If you don't see the tab that you want, click the tab scrolling buttons to display the tab, and then click the tab.

Tab scrolling buttons

  1. Select the cells that contain the data that you entered.
  2. On the Edit menu, point to Fill, and then click Across Worksheets.

 Notes 

  • Data that you enter affects all selected worksheets and may inadvertently replace existing data that you didn't mean to change. If needed, you can view worksheets at the same time. On the Window menu, click New Window. Switch to the new window, and then click a worksheet that you want to view. Repeat for each worksheet that you want to view. On the Window menu, click Arrange, and then click the option that you want. To view worksheets in only the active workbook, select the Windows of active workbook check box.
  • To cancel a selection of multiple worksheets, click any unselected worksheet. If an unselected worksheet is not visible, right-click the tab of a selected worksheet, and then click Ungroup Sheets.

Top of Page Top of Page

 
 
Applies to:
Excel 2003