In Excel

When you want to edit the highlighted cell, and you don't want to move back to the previous cell when pressing the <- key, you press F2.

Pressing F2 ensures that when you're editing the cell, the cursor will move back to the previous character and not the previous cell.

In Google Spreadsheets?

In Google Spreadsheets, the only way to achieve similar functionality to F2 in Excel is by double-clicking the cell with the mouse.

Pressing enter on the selected cell in Google Spreadsheets re-instantiates the behavior where pressing the <- key moves you to the previous cell.


Is there a keyboard shortcut in Google Spreadsheets that creates the same behavior as the Excel F2 key?

2 Answers 2


Per the official list of keyboard shortcuts, F2 is the only key responsible for editing a cell. I've just tried it in 3 browsers (Chrome 16, Firefox 9, and IE 9) and it doesn't function the same way as it does in Excel.

Your solutions are 1) pressing F2 before entering any data, 2) pressing Backspace to remove the characters you've typed after the error, or 3) using the mouse to navigate.

  • Pressing <kbd>F2</kdb> before pressing <kbd>Enter</kbd> seems to do the trick. Thanks!
    – leeand00
    Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 4:39

This has been fixed in Google Spreadsheets. You may now use the F2 key to begin editing without clicking in the cell.

  • Not on a mac it appears... F2 just turns up the brightness. Do you know if there is an equivalent for Mac? Commented May 11, 2016 at 20:48
  • 1
    @redOctober13 This is not an issue with Google Spreadsheets, but a "feature" of your Mac. You have to change the function keys to act as function keys. They don't do this by default. support.apple.com/en-ca/HT204436 Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 20:27

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