Fixing the F4 Button in Excel for Mac

by Gregory on January 5, 2011

The F4 key in Excel for Windows is normally a shortcut key to Repeat the last command. In Excel for Mac the F4 key is assigned to the Paste command, which is driving me crazy so I decided to do something about it.

Default F4 Keyboard Assignment in Excel for Mac

There are four keyboard shortcuts assigned to the Paste command in Excel for Mac — Shift+Del, Control+V, F4, and Command+V.

Excel Mac F4 Keyboard Shortcut

Overkill, don’t you think? So I’m thinking the F4 button can be reassigned with no problems, unless, of course, you’re in the habit of using the F4 key for the Paste command.

Reassign the F4 button in Excel for Mac

  • Select the Tools menu, and click Customize Keyboard…
  • In the Categories: box select Edit
  • In the Edit box, select Redo
  • Select the Press new shortcut key: box
  • Press the keyboard combination fn+F4 key (or just F4 key if you’ve setup the Mac function keys normally)

Reassign the F4 key in Excel for Mac

  • Click Add

Confirm F4 Change

  • Click OK to reassign the Paste command to the Redo command.

F4 key reassigned

The F4 button will now work with the Redo command, which is similar to how Excel for Windows is setup.

Note: You have to make this change to each version of Excel for Mac. For instance the above procedure was done in Excel 2011, but my Excel 2008 version of Excel for Mac wasn’t affected and has to be done separately.

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Select1 January 29, 2011 at 11:53 am

Unfortunately this does not work as repeat in Excel 2011. The Command Y function is not quite the same as redo (which the above process outlines how to assign F4 to Redo). I often use the F4 key (Repeat Command) in the Windows version to quickly delete rows and columns. The Command Y function (I believe Repeat Command) is not customizable – cannot be assigned using the Tools – Customize Keyboard.

Gregory January 29, 2011 at 12:13 pm

You’re right, the Cmd+6 keyboard shortcut is really the Repeat command, but since I’m use to Windows where the F4 button in Excel is either a Repeat or Redo (Cmd+Y) command, it really irks me that Excel for Mac setup F4 to be a Paste command so I wanted to change it. I wrote a new post showing how to put the the Repeat command icon on the toolbar, which works even better.

Ray D May 3, 2011 at 10:56 am

What about F2 for editing the contents of a cell? Is there any way to make that happen? I can’t even fins a command for anything like that…

Gregory May 3, 2011 at 11:07 am

Use CONTROL+U instead of F2 in Excel for Mac. A pain in the you-know-what, but what’s a fella supposed to to?

Ray D May 3, 2011 at 11:48 am

http://excelsemipro.com/2011/02/f2-in-excel-for-mac/

Awesome little addition to the system prefs!

Sara April 23, 2013 at 1:14 pm

also, i just found out that if you’re using a mouse, then double click in the cell = same as keyboard shortcut control+U (which is the same as the windows F2) for editing contents of a cell

Gregory April 24, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Thanks for the reminder. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that tip.

A Gordon May 28, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I normally do not comment on sites too often (extremely busy) but I had to here. YOU HAVE SAVED MY LIFE!!!! I am in the process of setting up some excel sheets for a client of mine that includes hundreds and hundreds of rows of information and changing this has saved me loads of time adding in hundreds of new information! Thank you again so much!

Saritha Peruri July 7, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Hey Greg,

What about using F4 to lock cells (i.e., what typically allows you to toggle dollar signs in the cell).

Thanks!
Saritha

Gregory July 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Use COMMAND+T to toggle through the absolute/relative reference combinations. Or use the Switch Reference on the Formulas tab of the Ribbon.

Federico Prat May 3, 2013 at 5:00 am

What if I want to assign F4 as a CMD+T alias? I would like F4 to act as in Windows Excel for cycling on reference types, but I cannot find the appropriate command in the dialog box for keyboard customisation.

Gregory May 4, 2013 at 6:46 am

I’m on a bit of a holiday and don’t have access to my iMac, but you could pick a key and try to set the shortcut and then maybe Excel will tell you what key is reserved.

Cmd+T may be a OS X shortcut so you might want to look in the Mac Preferences > Keyboard to see if the operating system would prevent you from using that keyboard combination.

Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

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