This is about Microsoft Excel: I don't know, if I should say:

Place the cursor in cell A5 or
Place the cursor on cell A5

or maybe something completely different?

I'd say "on" simply because Excel won't be in edit mode yet, so the cursor isn't flashing inside the cell. Does that make sense?

  • Related: ell.stackexchange.com/q/77386 – ColleenV Jul 21 '16 at 10:42
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    In your usage, informally both will be understood to be the same. More formally, the contents is in a cell, and the formatting is on a cell. – Peter Jul 21 '16 at 12:41
  • books.google.com/ngrams/… – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 21 '16 at 12:54
  • Did you just move the cursor to the position of cell A5, or did you also click on it (which highlights the cell border)? Either would be described differently. – user3169 Jul 21 '16 at 19:10
  • I single-clicked the cell, so, I moved the cursor to the cell using the mouse (instead of the arrow keys) There was this bold border around the cell, but the cursor wasn't flashing in the cell (the status bar says Ready). – Sabine T. Jul 22 '16 at 13:27

I'd agree with you - except that "cursor" actually means the flashing thing. The bold border around the cell is called the "selection". So you should actually say "Select cell A5" - so that you can (for instance) say "Select cells A5:B7"


Since, as John Burger said, the cursor is the flashing thing, it goes in the cell:

Place the cursor in cell A5.

To achieve that, though, you click on the cell:

Click on cell A5 to select it.

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