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I sometimes double-click on a cell to see the formula or whatever, or I just accidentally start typing in the cell. How do I cancel the edits? Esc and Ctrl+Z don't work, so I typically hit Enter and then Ctrl+Z, but that seems clunky.

EDIT: Chrome on Ubuntu

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    Which browser are you using? In which version? Operating system? – StampedeXV Feb 27 '14 at 8:21
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Wow, a year later I had this issue again. Finally realized that the issue was Vimium—once I disabled it on docs.google.com everything was fine. Seems kind of obvious, but for some reason I had figured that wasn't it. I guess I was unconsciously assuming I had already disabled Vimium in Google Docs because everything else worked.

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    Wow, very nice to figure out this little bastard haha. Would never have find the solution. Great! – Christopher Will Aug 14 '17 at 21:28
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    Confirmed. This is Vimium and has plagued me for years. – Still.Tony Apr 28 '19 at 23:48
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    Just came across this. I was trying in different browsers thinking it was related to that, not realizing that I had Vimium installed in both! – aardvarkk Nov 28 '19 at 22:08
  • This has been bugging me for a while. Thank you! – armandino Dec 17 '19 at 20:05
  • I've removed Vimium - more trouble than it was worth to me. I tried adding Vimium rules to allow Google Sheets to operate as normal but didn't find a way. – Dan Roberts Nov 8 '20 at 14:37
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I do the same as in Excel - pressing ESC works fine. Both in the new Google Sheets and the "normal" ones.

I use Chrome Version 33.0.1750.117 m

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  • I tried ESC many times at the time, and it didn't work, but it works now, so I'm accepting your answer so this question doesn't stay open. – MalcolmOcean Mar 1 '14 at 20:17
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ESC should work. If it doesn't, try switching to a different browser.

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I have the same issue: ESC does not work. I am on Chrome Version 56 (64 bit) on a macOS12.10 The only alternative I've found is CMD-Z after hitting ENTER.

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Just a sidenote: This issue has been irritating me endlessly (using Safari on OSX) especially when working in Full screen mode (as one tends to do with large spreadsheets): ESC, instead of exiting cell edit, exits full screen.

It finally annoyed me enough that I forgot why I ever switched to Safari, so today I switched back to Chrome and it works just fine (ESC - as it should - exits the cell edit and I'm still in full screen).

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After adding Google Spreadsheets as an exception in Vimium, everything works fine finally!

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    This doesn't offer any information not already found in the accepted answer. – ale Apr 24 '18 at 18:25

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