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Insert or delete rows or columns

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Small changes in the layout of your worksheet can give you big improvements in readability. Insert and delete rows, columns, and cells to organize your worksheet.

Insert a column

  1. Select the letter at the top of a column to select the column.

  2. Select Home > Insert > Insert Sheet Columns
    Or, right-click the top of the column, and then select Insert.

    Note: Excels inserts a new column to the left.

Delete a column

  1. Select the column.

  2. Select Home > Delete > Delete Sheet Columns.

    Or, right-click the top of the column, and then select Delete.

Insert a row

  1. Select the row number to select a row.

  2. Select Home > Insert > Insert Sheet Rows.
    Insert Sheet Rows
    Or, right-click the selected row, and then select Insert.

    Note: A new row is inserted above the selected row.

Delete a row

  1. Select the row.

  2. SelectHome > Delete > Delete Sheet Rows.
    Or, right-click the selected row, and then select Delete.

Insert a cell

  1. Select a cell or a cell range.

  2. Right-click the selected cells, and then select Insert.

  3. In the Insert box, select an option:
    Insert box

    • Shift cells right – shifts cells right to make space for the new cell(s).

    • Shift cells down – shifts cells down to make space for the new cell(s).

    • Entire row – inserts a new row.

    • Entire column – inserts a new column.

  4. Select OK.

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Insert or delete cells, rows, and columns

Maybe we've decided that we need to keep track of people by their status.

In other words, maybe some of these people are part-time and we don't see that in the list here. And we want a new column to the left of Column D.

Now, if you didn't know how to insert a new column you might begin by clicking the column, but then what?

On the Home tab, there's a choice called Insert and that's certainly helpful.

We could Insert Sheet Columns, we could click that.

And nothing wrong with that, and I'm certainly not saying that's not the best way to do it.

But I think it's handier much of the time to use the right-mouse button.

Let me just Ctrl+Z here. I'm going to right-click on Column D and there's Insert.

Now, it doesn't say Columns so if you're relatively new with Excel, Insert sometimes doesn't quite say what it means and in this case it doesn't, but it does mean new column to the left.

We can get there that way.

Now, after thinking about it for a bit maybe making some other changes you've decided, "I just can't get to that yet, "I don't need that empty column."

Maybe you've done other actions in the meantime, so you can't do an Undo.

How do we get rid of this? We can use the same feature.

In other words, we don't have to go elsewhere.

I'm going to right-click Column D and Delete.

Now, here's another thought, we want to add a new record here.

We could add it at the bottom although maybe this person is in Account Management we want to put it in the list near that group.

Maybe we want to add it above Row 90 here.

We could do that if we wanted to or maybe we want to add it in place.

Maybe the person's name is Abbot and we want to add it above Row 2, something like that.

It's not always the best way to do it. If I right-click Row 2, I can choose Insert.

It puts in a new row and I could fill in the data.

I just have to copy the color down, I might want to get rid of that.

But, as I scroll to the right would that have been a good idea?

Looks like I've split other data now.

It's up to you to know what's on your worksheet and although this is not a horrible result here, I think you can sense what might happen if we do this with certain other rows.

I'm going to press Ctrl+Z to Undo that last action.

What if I were not thinking clearly and I went to insert a new row above Row 6.

Right-click, Insert. I could fill in my data here, nothing wrong with that part of it.

But scrolling to the right, I've introduced a gaping hole in this table.

I think I'm going to use that later for look-up purposes.

And then the list over here obviously is not what we want it to be.

So, there will be times where instead of inserting a row you might want to insert cells.

I'm going to press Ctrl+Z again.

So, if we wanted to add new data here we would highlight just this data. Right-click, Insert.

Notice now the option has three dots behind it meaning there's more to come we're going to see a dialog box.

Shift Cells Down would be the option we want here.

Now, this is not going to touch data to the right.

Keep an eye on Column L. As I click OK, it will shift all these cells from Row 6 downward.

We're not losing anything here, but now we can fill in the data.

The data to the right has not been disturbed at all.

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