February 28

Keyboard Shortcut to Lock Cells in Excel (Mac Office)


While using a Macbook for a period of time in 2013, I realised that there are some differences when using Mac Office and Windows Office. One example is if I wanted to lock a cell, say for example A1. I would put the dollar sign ($) in from of both the column and row number as follows: $A$1.

This still works in the Mac world if I enter it manually, but in the Windows version of Excel, there was a keyboard shortcut (highlight A1 in the formula bar and then press the F4 button) which would put the $ signs in for you. This method is, by far, very much less tedious than typing the dollar sign each time and moving the mouse to precisely the right location.

However, F4 doesn’t work in Mac. It was only after poking around did I find out that the Mac keyboard shortcut equivalent is not F4, but Apple key + T.

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  1. Apple – Think Differently….this post definitely proves that….heheheheheh….there are two kinds of computer users – those who have Macs and those that wish they do….I belong to the latter group.

  2. Thank you so much!
    Do you what that command is called? I want to change the keyboard shortcut under view >> customize toolbars and menus.

    Thanks again!

  3. New to mac, the excel program is driving me insane. But I’m trying. I’m largely self-taught on the program too.

    I’m building a budgeting sheet right now. I’ve got several columns that fill in automatically. I want to ensure that I can’t accidentally modify the contents of these cells/interfere with the formula once I’ve set it up (I’m using a laptop…it happens!). Is there a way of selecting columns and cells to keep the format from being changed?

    Also, is the, erm, command key the same as the old Apple key? I had a mac as a kid…but don’t remember.

  4. Hey Liz, I’m more of a Windows-guy, so I don’t really know about the command key and old Apple key. However, I do know that you can protect cells from being edited – this can be found in the Format > Protection menu in Windows

  5. Hi there

    I’ve owned my very first IMac for two days now and I follow all the instructions I read on how to protect certain cells in one of our Excel spreadsheets (we easily did this when using Microsoft Excel on a PC) but the MAC version of Excel seems to only let you protect the whole sheet or nothing, there is not an option to just protect some of the cells. There’s got to be a way, I’ll just have to keep on searchin! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

      1. Thanks, but this I had already tried when I made my post. Didn’t work at all for MAC but yes, this is how we had been doing it on our Microsoft PC.

  6. Anyone figure out how to edit a cell with a keyboard shortcut – on Windows it’s [F2] but for the life of me I can’t find anything on the Mac equivalent. How retarded is Microsoft? Or rather, how retarded are their product guys?

  7. Actually I don’t get the lock cell by pressing the apple key and T, am I doing it correctly? pressing two key at the same time right?

  8. The “command T” keystroke works . Thanks for the solution to my ability to lock in a reference cell e.g. using my Mac vs the Windows version of key stroke f4,


  9. I can’t thank you enough. I’m not a big Excel fan but this will patch up what I need to present until I get through some MATLAB code or R. Thanks a ton.

  10. Actually… what you can do ALSO depends on which Apple keyboard you are using. Unfortunately, on most iMac models they ship (by default) the shorter office keyboard. However, most computer professionals use the standard wide-QWERTY keyboard with attached number pad that has paging function buttons (page up, page down, arrow, etc.)

    The maddening thing… is that you have to use different keyboard sequences depending on the keyboard you have. My dad (to whom I provide endless free computer tech support) has the short keyboard. I had the larger one. Going back & forth is the real issue because people develop a natural kinesthetic reflex response to the keyboard they have, the smartphone they have, etc.

    The computer industry today — short voice activation, which is the real goal — has more interfaces to what should be a STANDARD MECHANICAL DEVICE than the automotive industry ever came up with in more than 200 years of development. Children building toys… not men designing machines, sadly.

    1. I agree. The keyboard industry is overflowing with different variations because of the requirements that people have. Some like their keyboards portable, some like a concise layout, some like all the available keys.

      The only thing that’s consistent is the QWERTY layout, really. Anything else is up for the manufacturer to change.

      You should see what happens when you have both a Windows machine and a Mac! That’s a real brain teaser. I’ve since given up on getting used to a layout, and took it as practice to become more adaptable!

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