Excel defaults

Below are some Excel defaults that can make using Excel easier. The instructions are for Excel 2010, but these options are also available on older versions, too.

Number of worksheets

By default, a new Excel workbook will include three worksheets. And normally we use one! You can change the default to any number of worksheets, including one, which will make for smaller files and less confusion as we look at empty worksheets.

  1. On the menu, select File then Options
  2. Under General, change the number under “Include this many sheets:”

Once you change this, any new workbooks will default to that number of worksheets.


BONUS: While on this screen, you can also change the font type and size.

Change how the cursor behaves when you hit [Enter]

Normally, if you hit [Enter], the cursor moves down to the next cell. If you need it to move in a different direction, make this change.

  1. On the menu, select File then Options
  2. Under Advanced, change the setting for “After pressing Enter, move selection”


BONUS: While on this screen or any other Excel Options screen, notice that some groups have a drop down list. This means some settings are for all of Excel and any workbook while some settings, the ones with the drop down lists, only apply to a single workbook.


Default file format

Excel 2010 will default to a file format known as “Excel Workbook”. This is the .xlsx extension and is a standard Excel format. You can select other format, like the prior version called “Excel 97-2003 Workbook” and new files will always open in this file format.


Extra tip for those that read the entire post!

Rows are labeled with numbers and columns are labeled with letters. But what if you want both labeled with numbers. Or more likely, both are labeled with numbers and you want to set it back! Go to File, Options and select Formulas. Under Working with formulas, the R1C1 reference style should be unchecked. If you check it, the columns will also be numeric.


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