Prevent Cursor from Moving When Scrolling a Document

Prevent Cursor from Moving When Scrolling a Document

How do I scroll in a Microsoft Word document and not have the current cursor selection position change?

This question came from a person who said they used to be able to scroll ahead a page or two when editing large documents. They would then press the right arrow key once when they wanted to go back to the place they had last been.

This editing process of scrolling forward to review and then quickly returning works because the active selection point in the document has not changed as they scroll forward.

By clicking an arrow key, left, right, up, or down, Microsoft Word simply moved the active insertion point one position and then refreshed the display screen to the active document location, which in this case could be many pages back in the document.

The Word user who reported this had recently moved from Mac Office 2011 to the most current version of Mac Office 365. They were surprised to find that scrolling worked differently than what they were used to before.

In current Windows versions of Office there is a feature called Smart Cursoring.

  • This optional feature automatically positions the cursor on the page you are current viewing.

  • Then when you click one of the arrow keys, the cursor’s selection point changes to the displayed page. It does not return to last selection point in the document.

The good news is that this is an optional feature. You can control how it works by a checkbox control that is on the File > Options > Advanced dialog in the Editing group.

  • With this option checked your cursor will move to wherever you currently are in your document.

  • If you want to be able to scroll forward in your document and then return to wherever your cursor was last sitting, remove the check mark from this option.

Unfortunately, in the current Mac version of Office, this feature to turn Smart Cursoring on or off has not been included.

Smart Cursoring is enabled by default. Thus you cannot use the Arrow Keys to quickly return to your last edit point in the document.

How to get this feature added back into Mac Office

If you are a Mac Office user and would like to have this Smart Cursor behavior to be optional, just as it is in the Windows versions of Office, I suggest that you send a Frown to Microsoft and tell them what you’d like to see.

The feedback control in Mac Office is on the far-right end of the ribbon under the Smiley icon.

Mac Microsoft Word Feedback Buttons
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