There’ll Be Some Changes Made—Editing Cells in Excel 2010

As you’d expect, there’s more than one way to modify the contents of cells, all of which are pretty easy to master.

he most  straightforward approach is to simply overwrite any existing cell contents; that is, just click or key your way into the cell you want to overwrite, and type something new.

That’s all.Another rather obvious and decisive editing tack of course is to simply delete the contents of the cell(s) in question, if that’s  what’s called for. Just select the cell in question—or a range of cells—and click Delete on your keyboard. But these appealingly lucid  approaches aren’t always the most efficient. For example—click any cell and type:

this is how to edit cells in Excel You’ll note that the t in this isn’t capitalized, but you want it to appear in upper case. Sure, you could retype the whole phrase, but if you’re as lazy as I am you‘ll be searching for a less demanding workaround. Remember that any given  Excel cell can hold up to 32,767 characters, and while you’re not likely to ever exhaust that capacity, some Excel formulas can be  rather dense and ornate, and rewriting them from scratch is an invitation to error. So we need a Plan B to edit this kind of data—and  here are three very standard, textbook techniques:

First, click the cell you want to edit and press the F2 key, an ancient command that dates back to the last century (it’s been carbon  dated). You’ll see (Figure 2–40):

Figure 2–40. Inside the cell Look closely on your screen and you’ll see the cursor—that’s what it’s called—flickering to the immediate  right of the last letter of the phrase.

You’re now “in” the cell, and once you’ve gained this kind of entree you can carry out word  processing-like actions in order to edit  whatever you want. Thus here you can press the Home key that, as it does in Word, will take to you the beginning of a line of text. Once there, simply press the Delete key, remove the lowercase t, and replace it with T. Press Enter and you’re done. You can edit any  character in the cell by pressing the Left or Right arrow keys until you reach the character you want, and then pressing either  Backspace or Delete, depending on which side of the character you’ve positioned yourself. Once in the cell you can also double-click  any word, thus selecting it (as you do in Word); you can then either press Delete, thereby eliminating it from the cell, or type something else over it—again, just as you would in Word.

(Note: By clicking off the File  Options  Advanced  Allow editing directly in cells checkbox, you won’t be able to avail yourself of the  above option. But by doing so you’ll be able to double-click any cell containing a formula, and thus automatically highlight, or select,  all the cells contributing to the formula. As result, you can change the values in those cells easily.) Textbook method #2 reacquaints us  with the formula bar, that band of space stretching to the right of the name box, as shown in Figure 2–41:

Figure 2–41. The formula bar revisited To edit our text via this method, just click the cell containing our text. As usual, you’ll see it   displayed in the formula bar, as shown in Figure 2–42:

Figure 2–42. What you type is what you get in the formula bar Then click inside the formula bar, right alongside the lower-case t. Note  that when your mouse enters the formula bar area, it acquires a Word-like I-bar appearance, exactly what you see in Word when you  move your mouse around text in a document.

And when you click in the bar, the cursor reappears (along with that check mark and X), as you can see in Figure 2–43:

Then just make any changes as per standard word-processing steps; when you’re done, press Enter or click the checkmark. And if in  the course of your editing labors you click alongside the wrong character in the formula bar, just click again wherever you want and  start to edit.

This last technique is also easy, but requires a measure of care. Let’s return to that recalcitrant lower-case t. We can place our mouse  over that letter—back in the cell this time, and not the formula bar—and simply double-click. The standard Excel white cross remakes  itself into the cursor, at which point you can begin to edit. The caution is this: you can’t directly double-click any letter that by   appearances has run into adjoining columns. Thus you can’t double-click the E in Excel (Figure 2–44):

Figure 2–44. Double-click to edit? That depends. even though, as previously noted, all the text is lodged in but one cell. Thus, in order  to edit the E this way, you need to double-click anywhere within the span of the source cell—in this case somewhere between the words “this is how” and then press your arrow keys or click upon the E and edit. Quirky, but that’s how it works. And remember, as per our  discussion earlier, you can cancel an edit by pressing the Esc key or clicking the X.

And now that we’ve found a place for our data, what do we do with all of it? It’s time to learn some of the ways you can crunch all those  numbers that beckon in your newly entered cells. So just turn the page.