F2 in Excel: Functions and How to Use - Compute Expert

F2 in Excel: Functions and How to Use


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In this tutorial, we will discuss the functions of and how to use the F2 button when working in excel.

There are many shortcuts that we can use when it comes excel. Several of the useful ones involve the F2 button on our keyboard. Knowing and mastering these F2 shortcuts should help you to process your data in excel more productively.

For a brief summary, here are the things we can do in excel by using the F2 button.
  • Toggle between a cell’s edit and enter mode
  • Open the print window
  • Insert or edit the comment in a cell
  • Save workbook

Want to know more about those functions and how to activate them correctly by using the F2 button in excel? Read this tutorial until its last part!

(As a note, the F2 button functions we discuss here only work if you use a Windows operating system. If you use Mac, then you cannot use the F2 button to do them (unless the comment function which still involves the F2 button for its Mac shortcut).

However, we will also give the functions’ shortcut in Mac. Thus, you can still activate these functions from your keyboard if you want!)







Function 1: Toggle Between a Cell’s Edit and Enter Mode

F2 in Excel: Functions and How to Use - Screenshot of The Example for the First F2 Function

Windows Shortcut: F2 (when you highlight the cell)
Mac Shortcut: Control + U (when you highlight the cell)

The most popular function of the F2 button in excel is probably this one. When you highlight a cell, you can enter the cell’s edit mode when you press the F2 button. Your typing cursor will place itself at the end of your cell content.

This is similar to when you double-click the cell instead. Moreover, you can also toggle to the cell’s enter mode if you press the F2 button again during the edit mode.

What does the edit and enter mode mean? Well, first, let’s talk about the edit mode.

If you are in a cell’s edit mode, then that means you can type or delete the cell content. When you press your left or right directional button, you can move your typing cursor around. That way, you can edit the cell’s content part that you want.

You need the enter mode when your cell content is a formula and you want to change its cell reference. Place your typing cursor in the formula’s part where you want to input the cell reference first. Then, press F2 until you toggle yourself to the cell’s enter mode.

When you are in the enter mode, press your left or right directional button to go to your preferred cell reference. By doing that, you can directly input the cell reference just by using your keyboard buttons!

In this mode, if you press your directional button not in a formula’s cell reference part, you will exit the cell.

You can know whether you are in a cell’s edit or enter mode by seeing the bottom left of your workbook. You can see the screenshots below to help you locate the edit or enter mode note from excel (the one in the red box).

Edit mode

F2 in Excel: Functions and How to Use - Screenshot of The Edit Mode Note Location

Enter mode

F2 in Excel: Functions and How to Use - Screenshot of The Enter Mode Note Location

If you have done editing your cell’s content, just press escape/enter to exit the edit or enter mode.




Function 2: Open the Print Window

F2 in Excel: Functions and How to Use - Screenshot of The Example for the Second F2 Function

Windows Shortcut: Ctrl + F2
Mac Shortcut: Command + P

When you need to print your Excel document, you can just directly press the Ctrl and F2 buttons simultaneously. This will open up the excel print window where you can set up your printing settings.

You can use the shortcut as long as you are still in the workbook that you want to print. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + P to open the excel print window too.



Function 3: Insert or Edit Comment

F2 in Excel: Functions and How to Use - Screenshot of The Example for the Third F2 Function

Windows Shortcut: Shift + F2 (on the cell where you want to insert or edit your comment)
Mac Shortcut: Fn + Shift + F2 (on the cell where you want to insert or edit your comment)

Comment is an excel feature where you can leave some notes on a particular cell. When you want to insert or edit a cell’s comment, press Shift + F2 to start doing it.

Just select the cell you want to comment on first before you press the F2 shortcut. When you finish giving your comment, press the escape button on your keyboard.



Function 4: Save a Workbook

F2 in Excel: Functions and How to Use - Screenshot of The Example for the Fourth F2 Function

Windows Shortcut: Alt + F2
Mac Shortcut: Command + S

You can also use F2 (with the Alt button) to save your excel workbook. Just press Alt + F2 inside the workbook you want to save.

If you haven’t saved the workbook previously, then a “Save As” dialog box will show up. If you have saved it before, then it will overwrite the previous excel file.

Alternatively, you can use the Ctrl + S shortcut to save your excel workbook too.



Additional Note

If you want to try working in excel without a mouse, then the first function of F2 (entering a cell’s edit or enter mode) is important to remember. Without it, it will be hard to edit your cell’s content!



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