3. Adding, Editing and Deleting Data


After a quick tour of the Excel user interface, this lesson will show you how to insert, edit and delete data in a spreadsheet.

To explore more Kubicle data literacy subjects, please refer to our full library.


  1. Adding Data (00:14)

    To enter data in a cell, you simply select the cell, and start typing.  When you’re finished, press Tab to move to the next cell on the right, or Enter to move to the next cell down.

  2. Editing Data (00:47)

    If you navigate to a cell and start typing, existing content will be deleted. To edit existing text, navigate to the cell and press F2.
    When navigating within a cell, the arrow keys move the cursor one character at a time. Holding the Control key and the arrows lets you move one word at a time. Holding Shift and the arrows selects text one character at a time. Holding Control, Shift and the arrows selects text one word at a time.

  3. Deleting Data (01:59)

    To delete the contents of a cell, you navigate to the cell and press the Delete key. Avoid using Backspace, as this only deletes the contents of one cell at a time.

    If you’re editing a cell and want to delete the changes you’ve made, press Escape. This leaves the cell as it was before you started editing it.


In the previous lesson, we learned about keyboard shortcuts in Excel. In this lesson, we'll learn how to add, edit, and delete data from cells in Excel. As we've seen in the previous two lessons, entering data into cells is very easy. Just navigate to the chosen cell and start typing.

When you're finished, you can press Tab to navigate to the cell on the right, or you can press Enter to move to the cell underneath.

From these two entries, you can see that numbers are automatically aligned on the right of a cell and text on the left. This is the default setting in Excel, and most people who use the software stick to this default.

Editing content in cells is a little trickier. If we navigate to a cell and begin typing and then press Enter, this deletes the text that was there before, and it doesn't allow us to edit the existing text. This can get very frustrating if we only want to edit what's in the cell and not start from scratch. Let's undo to bring back our initial text.

And instead of simply writing over the text, we'll press F2, and this shortcut brings the cursor inside the cell.

When making edits to content, using the arrow key to move one character at a time can get pretty tedious. Instead, hold the Control key, and this allows you to move one word at a time. If you press the Home key, it takes you to the first character within the cell.

If you hold the Shift button and press the arrow, you can select one character at a time. And if you press the Control and Shift button and the arrow key, you can select one word at a time. These shortcuts are particularly useful because they work across Word and PowerPoint as well as Excel.

To delete the contents of a cell, simply navigate to that cell and press the Delete key on your keyboard.

Be sure not to use the Backspace button when deleting cells. Just use the Delete button instead. Sometimes when we're writing text in cells, we realize we've made a mistake before we've actually left the cell. If you'd like to quickly delete this content and start again, just press the Escape button.

Another use for the Escape button is when we've copied a cell and we want to move it to another location. If we have second thoughts on this action, we can just press Escape, which removes the marching ants from around that cell. This cell C2 is no longer on the clipboard and we can now move on to our next task.

This application of the Escape button wraps up this lesson. The few keyboard shortcuts I've covered should be more than enough to handle any inserting, editing, or deleting of data in your spreadsheet. They are another surefire way of increasing your productivity in Excel.