Smooth Scrolling is Coming to Excel for Windows

Posted on October 8, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365 with 11 Comments

Microsoft is now testing a smooth scrolling feature for Excel for Windows and expects to bring it to the stable version of the app soon.

“We’ve heard from many of you that it can be difficult to scroll through a worksheet with large cells and view all the data,” Microsoft’s Steve Kraynak writes in the announcement post. “The main reason for this issue is that Excel automatically snapped to the top-left cell as you scrolled.”

As Kraynak explains, it may seem like adding smooth scrolling is an easy fix. But as it turns out, doing so required Microsoft to make changes all over Excel, “including freezing panes, resizing rows, cutting and pasting, filtering, cell styles, comments, dragging and filling, and more”

Anyway, all anyone really cares about is how this change impacts Excel usage. And the experience will be smoother when scrolling using the mouse wheel or the scrollbars. (Touch- and touchpad-based scrolling is already smooth, and the latter even supports scrolling one pixel at a time with certain hardware.) And if you stop scrolling partway through a row or column, Excel will no longer force you to go any further than you want.

Smooth scrolling in Excel is available now to those in the Office Insider Program in both the Beta and Current Channel Preview channels, with version 2109 (Build 14430.20000) or later. It will be available to all Microsoft 365 subscribers in—wait for it—“the coming months.”

And if you are interested in the difficulties Microsoft faced in implementing this feature, be sure to check out the original post, which has some nice details.

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Comments (11)

11 responses to “Smooth Scrolling is Coming to Excel for Windows”

  1. thejoefin

    I am very much looking forward to this! My work uses Excel for tracking meeting action items and the choppy scrolling makes it very easy to lose your place.

    • hrlngrv

      Doesn't Outlook have ways of handling meeting action items? Just thinking in terms of best tool for the task. Excel makes for pretty crappy groupware.

  2. ggolcher

    I've run into this issue in Excel and it's aggravating to no end. I had to change mouse-wheel scrolling to scroll 1 line at a time to make it more bearable, but it made it painful in the rest of apps.

    Thrilled this is coming.

    • bluvg

      I have exactly this same frustration. I wouldn't have guessed "smooth-scrolling" and Excel could go together, but kudos to the team on tackling existing problems like this perhaps at the expense of new features.

  3. ronh

    I use Excel a lot and I am and Insider. I knew something had changed but I couldn't figure it out. The post you linked to explains it all, thanks Paul

  4. Rob_Wade

    I disagree with the touch-related experience. I use Excel regularly on both a Surface Pro 6 and Surface Pro 7. Touch scrolling is abysmal...and it's WORSE on my device that has Windows 11 (which is just all around horrible as an OS to begin with).

  5. maktaba

    Another thing that, if added to Excel, would help its users tremendously, is the highlighting of the entire row and column of the selected cell. This would make it easy to see the row number and column letter of the selected cell.

    • hrlngrv

      The extreme left side of the formula bar which displays the active cell's address (unless it has a defined name) isn't sufficient?

      Highlighting row and column could be problematic when there are merged cells. Actually, FAR TOO MANY things are too difficult to impossible when there are merged cells, a feature which may have seemed useful but carries far too many unintended adverse consequences.

  6. hrlngrv

    As someone who spends as much time in the VBA Editor as worksheets, I have to wonder how this could screw up macro automation. There's a Window class property which returns a reference to the cell in the top-left of a given window (in the active worksheet). Will it now return partially visible cells or the top-left cell the top-left corner of which is visible in the window? Still using 2016 at work, so no worries for the next year at least. Gotta check under Office 365 at home.

    • hrlngrv

      I've thought about this some more. Excel (and other spreadsheets) are about the only software I can think of which use the Scroll Lock state. If smooth scrolling were only available when Scroll Lock were on, then fine & dandy.

  7. mattbg

    This will be a nice feature.

    I don't envy the people who have to keep this beast up to date. If you thought Windows 11 was bad with so many conflicting user preferences, it has nothing on Excel.