In my article Microsoft Excel – Navigating with Scroll Lock, I wrote about how to use the scroll lock key to help you move around in Excel.
In part of the article, I wrote:
Excel modifies the way the arrow keys work if you’ve turned on the Scroll Lock key. It follows the concept of: if you turn on Scroll Lock and press the right-arrow key, the columns scroll one position to the left.
Your selected cell (the active cell) stays the same, though, which means that it quickly shifts out of the window.
I also included screenshots as visual examples. Then, I stated:
I haven’t figured out any reason that Excel should support this type of movement.
On the other hand, I have seen (and experienced) the confusion that results when someone accidentally turns on the scroll lock key.
A site visitor named Kostas wrote me to explain how he uses the scroll lock key in Excel:
Hi Terry, Commenting on your post as to what is the use of scroll lock key in MS Excel. This applies when using Excel mainly by keyboard instead of mouse.
I find the option extremely handy when, say, I want to check, in which cell certain data has been entered and the particular cell is outside the current view of the worksheet.
So instead of taking your hand off the keyboard to grab a mouse and use its scroll wheel (let alone clicking or dragging the scroll bar) you can simply press the scroll lock button and navigate yourself to that certain cell by pressing either the page up/down or arrow up/down buttons and then easily return to the area of the original cell, for example, by pressing off the scroll lock and then hitting enter key.
The further the cell-area you briefly want to visit is, the more useful the scroll lock button becomes.
I’ m not sure if I illustrated the applicability of the scroll lock button the best way, but rest assured, there still exist people that find that peculiar button quite useful.
There we have the answer. For those people who like to keep their hands on the keyboard and not reach for the mouse, it can be a handy (pun intended) way to move around an Excel spreadsheet.
Thanks for the comment, Kostas!