I have an ID format checker that has a row of cells that can only have one specific kind of character in each cell, and then all characters are compiled in order into another cell to create the correct ID#. If an incorrect character is entered, it highlights the cell yellow to indicate it's incorrect. I want to be able to type a character into the first cell and it automatically tab over to the next cell. So let's say I type the number "3" into cell A2. Instead of having to press tab or the right arrow key, I want it to automatically make the next cell to the right the active cell. So if I type "G" into cell A2, the next time I type a character it goes into B2, and then next time I type a character it goes into C3, so on and so forth.

Any suggestions?

Here's a copy of the sheet I'm using. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1mWxDIXsuKuxBziTkoUdufRxp_wyO035ENfltTTwetIs/edit?usp=sharing


3 Answers 3


This is highly impossible to jump from an active cell into a neighboring active cell without the medium (keyboard/mouse). The script just wouldn't know when you wish to jump because the state of the active cell is technically empty (even if you already typed in something) to the point when the active cell gets inactivated/out of the focus.

For such task, you will need 3rd-party script/macro which will mimic the action of pressing right arrow key at specific intervals (like every 5 seconds). Check out AutoHotKey.

  • 1
    @user213235 Add-ons and AHK are both great ideas. Note AHK can also add a key-press after each of your key-presses. You could set it up where you hit a rarely used key to enter your "ID Entry" mode, and then after every character you type, AHK tabs to the next cell. Just be forewarned that setting it up is not trivial.
    – Joel Reid
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 12:23
  • There are ways to do this in Excel, but I wasn't sure about in Sheets. And thanks for the suggestions, but it's a work computer and they won't install AutoHotKey on it for me: I tried a while back for an unrelated task and they said they won't. (╯°д°)╯︵ (\ . 0 .)\
    – user213235
    Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 18:41
  • why not run portable version on your stick?
    – user0
    Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 18:48

Having the opposite problem in SHEETS -- every time i type in a cell to edit a formula, when i hit ENTER it automatically goes into EDIT mode on the cell below it... and it is driving me insane! How can I disable this functionality?!


Echoing the other current answer, that behaviour exactly as described, is impossible.

I think you could get close to your requirements by having entry take place in just one cell. Then a formula like MID would pull each character out into your existing separate cells. They would then in turn be individual evaluated and flagged. Such an arrangement still could never be 'live' for each character as you type them, but it still achieves rapid entry and per-character validation.

  • That sounds like it could work well, I'll try that out. Thanks!
    – user213235
    Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 18:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.