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Insertion Point

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Excel

The Insertion Point in Excel

© Ted French
Definition:

In spreadsheets and other programs, such as word processors, the insertion point is represented by a vertical blinking line, which, in certain situations, indicates where input from the keyboard or mouse will be entered.

The insertion point is often referred to as the Cursor.

Active Cell vs. the Insertion Point

In word processing programs, such as MS Word, the insertion point is normally visible on the screen from the time the program is opened.

In Excel, however, instead of an insertion point, a single worksheet cell is surrounded by a black outline. The cell so outlined is referred to as the active cell.

Entering Data into the Active Cell

If you start typing in MS Word, the text is inserted at the insertion point.

If you start typing in a spreadsheet program, however, the data is entered into the active cell.

Data Entry vs. Edit Mode in Excel

When first opened, Excel is normally in data entry mode - indicated by the presence of the active cell outline.

Once data has been initially entered into a cell, if the user wishes to change the data he has the option of activating edit mode as opposed to re-entering the entire contents of the cell.

It is only in edit mode that the insertion point is visible in Excel.

Edit mode can be activated by the following methods:

  • double clicking with the mouse pointer on the cell to be edited - the insertion point is positioned in the cell at the location where you double-clicked

  • clicking once with the mouse pointer on the cell to be edited and then pressing the F2 key on the keyboard - the insertion point is positioned in the cell at the end of the cell contents

  • clicking once with the mouse pointer on the cell to be edited and then clicking anywhere in the formula bar located above the worksheet - the insertion point is positioned in the formula bar at the location where you clicked

Leaving Edit Mode

Once a cell's contents have been edited, edit mode can be exited and the changes saved by pressing the Enter key on the keyboard or by clicking on a different worksheet cell.

To exit edit mode and discard any changes to the contents of a cell, press the ESC key on the keyboard.

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