Navigating with the Keyboard

Navigating with the Keyboard

While the easiest way to navigate Google Spreadsheets is with your mouse, you can also use your keyboard to move from cell to cell in a spreadsheet. Table 3 details the key combinations that enable you to move around the worksheet.

Table 3. Google Spreadsheets Navigation Keys



Up arrow

Move up one cell

Down arrow

Move down one cell

Right arrow

Move right one cell

Left arrow

Move left one cell


Move right one cell


Move left one cell


Move to cell A1

Page Down

Move one screen down

Page Up

Move one screen up

Freezing Rows While You Scroll

As just noted, you can use your keyboard's Page Up and Page Down keys to scroll through long spreadsheets. You can also use your mouse to click the onscreen scrollbars to achieve the same movement.

The only problem with scrolling in this manner is that the top rows of the spreadsheettypically used as column headersscroll off the screen when you move down a spreadsheet. Wouldn't it be nice if you could "freeze" your spreadsheet's header row so that it's always visible, even when you're scrolling down?

You're in luck; Google Spreadsheets provides just such a header row freeze function. As you can see in Figure 9, when you freeze the top row (or rows) of a spreadsheet, it stays at the top of the screen, no matter how far down you scroll down. Here's how you do it:


From within your spreadsheet, click the Sort tab.


Click the Freeze button.


Select how many rows you want to freeze as the header row.

Figure 9. A spreadsheet with a frozen header row.

Now, when you scroll through your spreadsheet, the selected rows stay frozen in place at the top of the spreadsheet.

Section 4. Creating, Opening, and Saving Google Spreadsheets

Google Spreadsheets makes it really easy to create new spreadsheets, save the ones you're working on, and reopen previously saved spreadsheets. You can also import your Excel spreadsheets and download your Google spreadsheets in XLS format to work on from within Excel.

Know, however, that Google Spreadsheets is still in beta testing, and that Google has set some limits as to how large a spreadsheet you can work with. At present, Google lets you create a maximum 100 spreadsheets. Each spreadsheet can contain up to 20 tabs (sheets), 50,000 cells, 256 columns, or 10,000 rowswhichever comes first. As to importing existing Excel spreadsheets, Google only lets you import files sized 400KB or less. (Which means you can't import really large Excel files.) Past that, you're free to use Google Spreadsheets however you see fit.

Creating a New Spreadsheet

Creating your first new Google spreadsheet is as easy as logging on to the main Google Spreadsheets page. When you access Google Spreadsheets, you're presented with a blank spreadsheet. That's your new spreadsheet to work with. (You can then save this spreadsheet, as we'll discuss in a moment.)

To create another new spreadsheet, you can either click the New link at the top of the page, or click the File button and select New. (Figure 10 shows the menu that appears when you click the File button.) Either action opens a new spreadsheet in a new browser window; the current spreadsheet you were working on remains open.

Figure 10. Use the File menu to create a new spreadsheet.