Sometimes, when working on Microsoft Excel, you may want to use the arrow keys to change the active cells. However, if the Scroll Lock is enabled, your selection will change between rows and columns instead of cells. To solve this issue, you will need to turn off the scroll lock.

There are a few methods that you can use to turn off the scroll lock in Excel, and I'll be discussing them all here in this guide.

How to Check if Scroll Lock is Enabled

Before you get down to disabling the scroll lock in Excel, it is a good idea to check whether it is enabled.

  1. By default, Microsoft Excel displays some information in its status bar at the bottom. If the scroll lock is enabled, it will be visible there.
  1. If the status bar does not show this information, you will need to enable the setting that displays it. To do so, right-click on the status bar, which will give you a menu with several options.
  1. Click the 'Scroll Lock' option in the menu to enable Excel to show when the lock is turned on in the status bar.

Turning Off Scroll Lock in Excel

The easiest way to turn off Scroll Lock in Excel is by using the Scroll Lock key on your keyboard, but in many modern keyboards, this key is absent. So, we'll look at other methods by which it can be turned off.

Using the On-Screen Keyboard

In the absence of the Scroll Lock key on your keyboard, you can use the on-screen keyboard to turn it off.

  1. To access the on-screen keyboard, open the 'Settings' page on your system from the Start menu.
  2. Click the 'Ease of Access' option on the page to view all accessibility settings.
  1. The 'Ease of Access' page lists all accessibility settings on the left side. Look for the 'Keyboard' option and click on it.
  1. The first option on the 'Keyboard' page allows you to use your device without a physical keyboard. To do so, click on the 'Use The On-Screen Keyboard' button.
  1. It is easy to tell whether Scroll Lock is enabled since the key will have a different color when it is on. The on-screen keyboard will appear on your screen, and you can click the 'ScrLk' key using your mouse to disable Scroll Lock.
Note: You can use the Ctrl + Windows + O keyboard shortcut to open or close the on-screen keyboard at any time. Alternatively, click the 'Start' button and type in 'On-Screen Keyboard' to open it directly.

Through the Options Menu

At times it may happen that the scroll bars are missing from your Excel sheet, preventing you from scrolling through spreadsheets. In such cases, they will have to be enabled before Scroll Lock can be turned off.

  1. With your Excel spreadsheet open, click the 'File' tab in the upper left corner.
  1. From the drop-down menu, click the 'Options' button in the bottom-left.
  1. This will open the Excel options page with the various options appearing on the left side. Click the 'Advanced' option.
  1. Scroll down to the section labeled 'Display Options For This Workbook'. Make sure the options 'Show Horizontal Scroll Bar' and 'Show Vertical Scroll Bar' are enabled.
  1. If they are not, click the boxes next to them to enable them. Then, click the 'OK' button at the bottom. Now, you can scroll through Excel sheets easily again.

From the Properties Menu

It can also happen that your arrow keys and scrolling work perfectly fine only within a certain range. This behavior can be altered from Excel's 'Properties' menu.

  1. Open the 'Options' menu by clicking the 'File' tab on the upper left corner of Excel.
  2. Click the 'Customize Ribbon' option on the left side of the screen. This allows you to select which options appear in Excel's menu bar at the top.
  1. On the right side, under the 'Main Tabs' panel, search for the 'Developer' option and click on the box next to it to enable it. Then click the 'OK' button at the bottom.
  1. Now you will see the 'Developer' option in Excel's menu bar. Click on it to access the 'Properties' menu.
  1. The 'Developer' tab will show several options, including the 'Properties' one. Click on it now.
  1. The 'Properties' panel contains several options that control various developer settings of your current worksheet.
  1. Look for the 'ScrollArea' option, which is situated close to the bottom of the panel. Check that the box next to it does not contain any data.
  1. If the box to the right of the 'ScrollArea' contains any data, click on it and press the 'Delete' key to delete it before closing the 'Properties' box. Now you can easily scroll through the entire worksheet.

Turning Off the Scroll Lock with VBA

VBA or Visual Basic for Applications allows you to automate tasks in applications like Microsoft Excel and can be used for turning off the scroll lock.

  1. Enable and click on the 'Developer' tab as explained above.
  2. Then click the 'Visual Basic' option in the upper left corner of the screen.
Note: The shortcut for opening the VBA editor is Alt + F11 and lets you open it without using the Developer tab.
  1. The VBA window will open up, and you can add a code to remove the scroll area lock automatically.
  1. Inside the VBA window, click the 'Insert' button on the menu bar at the top to add a script that can automatically turn off the scroll lock.
  1. From the menu that drops down, click the 'Module' button to create a new module.
  1. In the new module window, you will need to enter the following code:
Sub SetScrollArea()
Dim ws As Worksheet
For Each ws In ThisWorkbook.Worksheets
    ws.ScrollArea = ""
Next ws
End Sub
  1. Now you can go back to your Excel sheet and easily scroll through it, as this VBA code will remove the scroll lock.

If you do not have the scroll lock key on your keyboard, the above methods can help you easily turn it off, making it easier to work in Excel. These methods work on all Windows systems, irrespective of the hardware, so whether you're working on a desktop or laptop, they're sure to help you out.