Moving columns and rows in Excel – a step-by-step guide

If you want to organize an Excel spreadsheet or adjust columns and rows, you often have to move around columns and rows. In this guide, you’ll learn the best way of doing this. We’ll show you two easyoptions that allow you to move columns and rows in Excel without formula errors or problems with cell formatting.

Moving a column in Excel by dragging and dropping

So, how do you move a column in Excel? You don’t have to use Copy and Paste to move one or more columns in the spreadsheet program. In general, this functionality is practical, but there’s always a risk that the formatting of the formulas in the columns could change. In addition, this method is very time-consuming.

An effective and simple alternative is to use drag and drop. The only restriction is that there cannot be any connected cells located outside of the selected range.

Step 1: Select column

First select the column or columns you want to move. To do this, left-click thecolumn heading to select the entire column. Alternatively, click any cell in the desired column and then press Ctrl + Space to select the column.

Step 2: Move the cursor to the border of the column

Next, move your mouse to the left or right side of the selected column until the pointer turns into a four-sided arrow or hand icon. This may vary depending on the Excel version you’re using.

Step 3: Move the column using drag and drop

In the third step, hold down the Shift key and the left mouse button and move the selected column(s) to the desired location using drag and drop. The new column location is indicated by a colored line or a dashed line.

Step 4: Drop the column

Once you’ve found the right location, release the mouse button and the Shift key. You’ve now moved the Excel column to the intended location. If there is another column with contents in this location, it will automatically move to the left or right.

Quick guide: dragging and dropping a column in Excel

  1. Select the column you want to move by left-clicking the column header.
  2. Move the mouse pointer to the border of the column until the pointer changes to a four-sided arrow or a hand symbol.
  3. Hold down Shift and the left mouse button and drag the column to the desired location.
  4. Release the Shift key and the mouse button and the column will move to the desired location.

Cutting and pasting an Excel column to a different location

As an alternative to Copy and Paste, you can use the Cut and Paste function. The standard keyboard shortcut for Cut is Ctrl + X.First, select the desired column by clicking the column heading or pressing Ctrl + Space. Then select the location where you want to paste the column and insert it there by pressing Ctrl +[+].

Note

You can also use the standard keyboard shortcut Ctrl +V to insert cut columns. However, if you use this shortcut, the formatting of the column or row may be affected. That’s why the Plus key is the better option here.

Excel: How to drag and drop a row to move it

The procedure for moving rows in Excel is similar to the method you used for moving columns.

Step 1: Select the row

Select the row or range of rows you want to move. To do this, left-click the row number (row heading) in the border area to select the entire row. Alternatively, click any cell in the desired row and then press Ctrl + Space to select the entire row.

Step 2: Move the pointer to the edge of the row

Then move the mouse pointer to the top or bottom edge of the selected row until the pointer becomes a four-sided arrow or a hand symbol.

Step 3: Move the row in Excel using drag and drop

Hold down the Shift key and the left mouse button and move the selected row(s) to the desired location using drag and drop.

Step 4: Drop the row

Release the mouse button and the Shift key to drop the row in the selected location.

Quick guide: Dragging and dropping a row in Excel

  1. Select the row you want to move by left-clicking the row heading.
  2. Move the mouse pointer to the top or bottom edge of the row until the pointer becomes a four-sided arrow or a hand.
  3. Hold down the Shift key and the left mouse button to drag the row up or down to the desired location.
  4. Release the Shift key and the mouse button and the row will appear in the selected location.

Cutting and pasting an Excel row to a different location

You can also use Cut and Paste commands for rows. Once you’ve selected the desired row by clicking the row heading or pressing Ctrl + Shift, press Ctrl + X. Then select the desired location and press Ctrl +[+] to insert the row.


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