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Lesson 11 - Using the Undo and Redo Feature



As with most Microsoft Office applications, Excel contains a very handy feature that allows us to Undo or Redo certain steps we have taken. 

The Undo and Redo can both be found on the Standard toolbar.  These are represented by the arched left pointing blue arrow for Undo, and the arched right pointing blue arrow for Redo.  It can also be found under Edit on the Worksheet menu bar as can the shortcut keys Ctrl + Z for Undo and Ctrl + Y for Redo but most often you will probably use the icons on the Standard toolbar as they are easily accessed. 

The other reason why you would probably choose the Undo and Redo via the Standard toolbar is because you may notice next to the arched arrows to the left or right, there are two small downward pointing arrows.  Selecting these arrows will present you with a list of up to the last 16 actions taken.  In other words, Excel will only store the last 16 actions taken by the user. 

What this means is that if you have performed 17 actions, the first of the 16 actions will be replaced by the 17th.  To see what how this works, close the Workbook you currently have open and say No to saving any changes. 

1.  Now open a new workbook.  The reason we are doing this in a new Workbook will become apparent soon. 

2.  In the new Workbook type the numbers 1-16 in cells A1:A16Do not use the Fill Handle as this will defeat the purpose of the exercise. 

3.  Now go up to the downward pointing arrow to the right of the Undo icon and left click on it and you should see your last 16 actions.  Take note of the fact that you have Typing 1 in A1 as the action at the bottom of the list. 

4.  Now click in cell A17 and type the number 17

5.  Go back up to the downward pointing arrow to the right of the Undo icon and left click on it and you will notice that Typing 1 in A1 has disappeared and at the top of your list should now be Typing 17 in A17

In other words, Excel has replaced your very first action taken with the last action taken.  This will continue on as such at any time you are working in Excel. 

6.  To Undo the last action, you simply click the Undo icon. 

7.  Click this now and the number 17 should disappear. 

8.  If you now click on the drop arrow to the right of the Redo action, you should see that the Typing 17 in A17 is now a Redo action as opposed to an Undo action. 

9.  Now go back to the downward pointing arrow to the right of the Undo action and hover your mouse pointer over the top action, ie; Typing 16 in A16

10.  Without clicking, drag your mouse down slowly and you will see Excel highlight each action as you go.  This allows us to select the number of actions to Undo.  When you have reached the action at which you wish to stop, simply stop dragging and click on the last highlighted action (or push Enter) and Excel will Undo all the highlighted actions. 

11.  If you now click on the downward pointing arrow of the Redo feature, you will see the list of all the actions that we have just Undone. 

12.  So again, select these actions and click (or push Enter) and you should be back to exactly where we Start ed. 

The most important point to remember here is that Excel will only store the last 16 actions taken.  The reason the number is only 16 is because storing any more than this would Start to have an adverse affect on the memory usage required. 

The other very important point to note of the Undo and Redo feature, is that as soon as you Save, all of the Undo or Redo actions are wiped and there is no way to get them back. 

You can change the number of actions stored in Undo, but to do that requires hacking into Excel.  If you are interested in how this works, let us know. 

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