Accelerate editing of complex formulas in Excel

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

 

 Many of the formulas in my spreadsheets are long and complicated. When I need to make an adjustment, I could click on the Formula bar and edit the formula in the target cell, but I prefer to keep my fingers on the keyboard—using the F2 key instead to give me access to editing the formula. And there’s the problem: Instead of giving me the immediate option of more easily editing the formula inside the Formula bar , the F2 key only let’s me do the editing inside the crowded space in the cell itself. If I want to do the editing in the less-confined space of the Formula bar, I have to take my fingers off the keyboard, grab the mouse and move the cursor up to the Formula bar. No big deal, you may think. But when you’re adjusting loads of formulas in many cells, that small step costs me lots of time. So, is there some way to get the F2 key to default directly to the Formula bar instead of the cell?

 Yes, you can program the F2 button to give you immediate access to the formula in the Formula bar so you can immediately edit the formula there…

…rather than in the crowded space of the cell.

To do that in Excel 2003, click on Tools , Options and the Edit tab. Then remove the check next to Edit directly in cell , and then click on OK .

In Excel 2007, access the F2 default switch by clicking on the Office Button and then on Excel Options at the bottom of the screen (see screenshots below).


And finally remove the check next to Allow editing directly in cells (see screenshot at left).

 

 

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