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How to set tab order of cells or unlocked cells in Excel?

Supposing you need to set the tab order for your own defined, for example, from cell B5 to C6, C6 to D7, D7 to E8, and then return to B5 when leaving cell E8 in a worksheet as below screenshot shown. How to achieve it? This article provides a VBA method for you.

Set tab order of cells or unlocked cells with VBA code

Set tab order of cells or unlocked cells with VBA code

Please run the below VBA method to set tab order of cells in normal worksheet or unlocked cells in protected worksheet.

1. In the worksheet you need to set tab order, right click the sheet tab and click View Code from the context menu.

2. In the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window, copy and paste the below VBA code into the Code window.

VBA code: Set tab order of cells or unlocked cells

Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
    Dim tabArray As Variant
    Dim i As Long
    tabArray = Array("B5", "C6", "D7", "E8")
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    For i = LBound(tabArray) To UBound(tabArray)
        If tabArray(i) = Target.Address(0, 0) Then
            If i = UBound(tabArray) Then
                Me.Range(tabArray(i + 1)).Select
            End If
        End If
    Next i
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub


1) In the code, B5, C6, D7, E8 is the order of the input cells, and you must use the uppercase letter of the cell address. You can change them based on your needs.
2) For the protected worksheet, the input cells must be unlocked.

3. Press the Alt + Q keys to close the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window.

From now on, after inputting data in B5, the cursor goes to C6 with pressing the Tab or Enter key, then goes to D7 when leaving C6, and then moves to D7, E8 in current worksheet.

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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    RNA · 2 months ago
    Olá, o código VBA para definir a ordem das células desejadas funcionou perfeitamente. Eu percebi que para que ele funcione, é necessário entrar com um dado na célula e pressionar TAB ou ENTER.
    PERGUNTA: Você tem como fazer este código percorrer todas as células (no meu caso são 31, sendo algumas vazias e outras com valores padrão) sem ter que entrar com dados nelas, somente pressionando TAB ou ENTER. Como eu tenho algumas células vazias e outras com valores, por padrão, eu gostaria de percorrer as células sem precisar entrar com dados em todas elas novamente, mas, somente alterando as células que forem preciso alterar.

    Text translated by Google Translator
    Hello, the VBA code to set the order of the desired cells worked perfectly. I realized that for it to work, it's necessary to enter data into the cell and press TAB or ENTER.
    QUESTION: You can make this code go through all the cells (in my case there are 31, some being empty and others with default values) without having to enter data in them, just pressing TAB or ENTER. As I have some empty cells and others with values, by default I would like to cycle through the cells without having to enter data in all of them again, but only changing the cells that I need to change.

  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Glenn Davis · 1 years ago
    Hello, New here The VBA code works until I hit a Pull Down Box, I get to the first on make my selection , hit Tab and it moves to a locked cell, It acts like a cell I did not enter any data in. Any suggestions? GlennD24
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Dan Maycock · 3 years ago
    Hello, is there a way to just hit enter without entering anything and have it go to the next selection?
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished. · 3 years ago
    No me funcionó, lo coloqué en la hoja de trabajo, debe haber algún error, me podrían ayudar, necesito implementarlo en mi trabajo,


    Collins Neptali Arráiz López
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Jeanne · 3 years ago
    Thanks for the code on enter order. I am working on a spreadsheet entering barcode information and I need to span up to 300 cells and the program only lets me enter 142 cells. Is there a way to add more so I can get up to 300?

    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      crystal · 3 years ago
      Hi Jeanne,
      Thanks for your comment.
      But the code can’t be optimized to meet your needs. Sorry about that.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Evan · 4 years ago
    First select which cells you want to have unprotected.

    When you protect your sheet it will automatically set the tab order according to your unprotected cells. It will Tab forward from Left to Right, and Top to Bottom; Shift+Tab backward from Right To Left, and Bottom to Top.
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      crystal · 4 years ago
      Dear Evan,
      Thank you for sharing.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Nat · 4 years ago
    With the order that you have listed them excel does without VBA code. Make them go backwards then you got something.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Jeannie · 4 years ago
    Hello and thank you for the VBA code to set the tab order in a protected sheet where the form control labels and form control drop-down boxes are unlocked and the user can tab through and fill out the information in a label, and when tabbing to a drop down list select the number of items the instructions give him, and I have made progress with your code. At first I could only tab through each of the label form controls, now I sometimes hit the drop down lists. I would really enjoy a turorial on how tro do tis
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Spinaz · 4 years ago
    Is it possible to use this same code to force tab across each row to each unprotected cell? I need to tab starting at cell A15, and then move to the next unprotected cell (C15), then E15, then G15. Once here, I need to tab to A16 and repeat the process for the remainder of the form. The reason I need this is that data is entered by barcode scanner, and some are programmed to tab, and others to enter. Thanks for your help on this.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Spinaz · 4 years ago
    Can this be used to force a tab to the next unlocked cell in the worksheet? For example, I need the operator to enter (scan) data into cell A15, and then it should tab over to C15, then E15, then G15 (which is the end of the row), then return to the first cell in the next row, A16 and repeat the sequence. I need to force this pattern as some operators used scanners programmed to tab, and other are programmed to enter.