EXCEL - Active Workbook Goes Uneditable - Hit Enter / Jumps to another workbook - Have to click back

Copper Contributor

Very seasoned in Excel - problem started with my last laptop, assumed the problem was there and could never resolve. Problem is now occurring on brand new computer, cannot find any solutions.


Occasionally while working in my active workbook, I'll no longer be able to edit cells or use arrows to move cells. I'll click on any cell, hit ENTER, and another inactive window that was open will come up and it will revert to the last open cell there as if I was hitting ENTER on that workbook. I click back to the original workbook and the problem is resolved.


This becomes a huge annoyance when it happens multiple times an hour, in the middle of my workflow - disrupting it 10-20+ times a day.


Please help!

4 Replies

@Ryan David 

Thanks for your question. For a while I thought I was imagining the switch.  I'm able to fix it if I close the workbook that it is switching to and then reopening it, if it is one that I'm using. I would like to know the official cause and solution but I haven't found it yet. 

Glad to know I'm not the only one having this problem.  I am a power user.  I'll have multiple large files open in Excel along with files in Word, Adobe and Teams.  I've learned that if Excel "stops responding" to make note of what I was editing and hit the Enter key.  Excel changes focus to another file.  I haven't noted that whether it is in edit mode for the focus cell or not.  I'll hit Escape and then return to the file I was working on.  I have not seen a cumulative effect causing any of the open file to become corrupt... crossing my fingers on that one.  So it is "just" an annoyance that needs an explanation.  It is also a recent change in the behavior of Excel, so I'm guessing an update happened that isn't quite stable.  That doesn't bode well for the future.  Hopefully Microsoft development is paying attention.  However, it is interesting to note the original post was from 2018.  So maybe not new... just new to me.  @robbimj 

It’s been happening now for years - multiple computers, multiple installs, even 32 vs 64 bit Excels - I’ve just accepted it as a glitch that I can’t solve. I’m super heavy on excel so I’m probably pounding enter in frustration about 30 times a day to cycle to the random other window so that I can navigate back to the cell I was trying to edit. Infuriating that Microsoft hasn’t fixed this yet.



This is definitely happening to me as well. Has been for a couple years. Drives me NUTS, but usually I don't have the time to figure out what's going on or how to fix it as that's a rabbit hole. 


I am interested to see if any solutions show up as I'd love to get rid of this glitch.