Edit Cells with the F2 Function Key in Excel

Make fast changes with a function key shortcut

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The function key F2 allows you to quickly and easily edit the data of a cell by activating Excel's edit mode and placing the insertion point at the end of the active cell's existing contents. Here is how you can use the F2 key to edit cells.

Example: Using F2 Key to Edit a Cell's Contents

 This example covers how to edit a formula in Excel

If the option to allow editing directly in cells is turned off, pressing the F2 key will still put Excel in edit mode, but the insertion point will be moved to the formula bar above the worksheet in order to edit the cell's contents.

  1. Enter 4 into cell D1, 5 into cell D2, and 6 into cell D3.

    Screenshot of D1:D3 with data
  2. Select cell E1 to make it the active cell.

    Screenshot of E1 selected as active cell
  3. Enter the following formula into cell E1

    = D1 + D2

    Screenshot of formula in E1
  4. Press the Enter key on the keyboard to complete the formula. The answer should appear in cell E1.

    Screenshot of 9 in E1
  5. Select cell E1 to again make it the active cell.

  6. Press the F2 key on the keyboard.

  7. Excel enters edit mode and the insertion point is placed at the end of the current formula. This is the same as double-clicking the cell with the mouse.

    Screenshot of Edit Mode
  8. Modify the formula by adding + D3 to the end of it.

    Screenshot of D3 added to formula
  9. Press the Enter key on the keyboard to complete the formula and leave edit mode. The new total for the formula (15) should appear in cell E1.

    Screenshot of 15 in E1

You can tell when Excel is in Edit mode by looking in the lower-left corner of the window. The word Edit will appear in the Status bar when Edit mode is activated.

Screenshot of Edit in left corner of window

Edit mode enables you to move the text cursor within the formula using the right and left arrow keys.

If you press F2 again, the formula goes into Enter mode. In Enter mode, you can use the arrow keys to select cells instead of moving the text cursor.

If you notice that when you press the F2 key, it increases the computer's audio volume instead of making the cell active, you might need to press and hold the Fn key, which is in the lower-left corner of the keyboard just to the right of the Ctrl key, while pressing the F2 key.