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Active Cell

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Active cell in an Excel spreadsheet

Active cell in an Excel spreadsheet

© Ted French
Definition:

In a spreadsheet program such as Excel or Google Spreadsheets, the active cell is identified by a black or blue border or outline surrounding the cell.

The active cell is also known as the current cell or the cell that is in focus.


When an action takes place in the spreadsheet - such as data entry, formatting, or deleting data - it is the active cell that is affected.

For example, data can only be entered into a worksheet one cell at a time and the active cell is the place where that data will be located.

The active cell can be moved using the arrow keys on the keyboard or by clicking on another cell with the mouse pointer.

If the mouse pointer or arrow keys are used to highlight more than one cell in a worksheet so that the black outline surrounds several cells, there is still only one active cell - the cell with the white background color.

If data is entered when more than one cell is highlighted, the data is only entered into the active cell.

Also Known As: Current Cell
Examples:
Click on cell B3 with the mouse pointer to make it the active cell before entering the data.

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