How to Add a Column in Excel

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

Do you need to add a new column to your Excel spreadsheet?

Is there a faster way to add multiple columns at once?

In this tutorial, we’ll show you the different ways and steps to do it. 😊

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Let’s get this started!

Get your FREE exercise file

Before you start:

Throughout this guide, you need a data set to practice.

I’ve included one for you (for free).

Download it right below!

Download the FREE Exercise File

Download exercise file

Insert Feature

The easiest way to add a column is through the insert feature from the ‘Cells’ group in the Ribbon.

Suppose, for this tutorial, we have this data set:

dataset for inserting columns with august 2019 total sales

Now, you want to insert a column between columns D (‘Item 3’) and E (‘Item 4’).

The first thing you need to do is click a cell (any cell will do) in Column E.

select cell e2

By default, Excel inserts an element before the selected element.

So if you need to insert a column between Columns D and E, you need to do so while selecting Column E or any of its cells.

Now, make sure you’re currently on the ‘Home’ tab.

home tab on tab list

Head over to the ‘Cells’ group on the Ribbon.

cells group in the ribbon

Click the ‘Insert’ icon and select ‘Insert Sheet Columns’ from the dropdown options.

insert sheet columns option in dropdown

You’ll immediately see the newly made column between the ‘D’ and former ‘E’ columns.

new column added from insert feature

To add multiple columns using the insert feature, all you need to do is select multiple cells horizontally.

The number of cells selected is also the number of columns that will be added.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

For example, let’s insert 3 columns between columns ‘C’ and ‘D’.

To do so, select cells horizontally that belongs to columns ‘D’, ‘E’, and ‘F’.

Let’s highlight cells ‘D2’, ‘E2’, and ‘F2’.

selecting cells d2, e2, and f2

Finally, do the steps you did earlier in adding a single column:

  • Make sure you’re on the ‘Home’ tab
  • Click ‘Insert’ from the ‘Cells’ group
  • Select ‘Insert Sheet Columns’
multiple columns added from insert feature

Column Letter

Another way is by right-clicking the column letter where you would like to insert a column.

To illustrate, right-click column E from the column heading itself.

On the dropdown, select ‘Insert’.

insert option from column letter right click

To insert multiple columns, select multiple column letters and right-click on one of them.

Select column letters ‘D’, ‘E’, and ‘F’.

Then, select ‘Insert’ from the dropdown and voila!

multiple columns added from column letter

Column Cell

If you don’t like to move your mouse that much, you can also insert a column just by right-clicking the cell.

Currently, the ‘E2’ cell is selected (same as the examples above).

Right-click on the cell and select ‘Insert’ from the dropdown options.

insert option column cell

A new window will pop up.

It’s also possible to open this window by pressing ‘Ctrl’ + ‘Shift’ + ‘+’ (‘^’ + ‘I’ for Mac) while the cell is selected.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

From the options, choose ‘Entire column’ and click ‘OK’.

entire column option

To insert multiple columns, do the same exact thing but this time, highlight multiple cells horizontally.

multiple columns added from column cell

Insert Column Shortcut

In Excel, there are hundreds of keyboard shortcuts available.

Fortunately, inserting a column is one of them.

To insert a column using a shortcut, select the column letter and press ‘Ctrl’ + ‘Shift’ + ‘+’ (‘^’ + ‘I’ for Mac).

inserting a column with shortcut

If you like to add multiple columns, select multiple adjacent column letters first before doing the shortcut.

Let’s select column letters ‘D’, ‘E’, and ‘F’.

multiple columns added by shortcut

Insert Column Hotkey

A hotkey is a key combination to perform an action quickly.

The hotkey combination for adding a column is holding down ‘Alt’ + ‘I’ + ‘C’.

To use it, simply select a cell from a column you like to insert a column before it.

For consistency with previous examples, let’s select the cell ‘E2’ and press the hotkey.

insert column by hotkey

To insert multiple columns, select multiple cells horizontally.

Let’s go with cells ‘D2’, ‘E2’, and ‘F2’ to insert three (3) columns between columns ‘C’ and ‘D’.

multiple columns added by hotkey

Wrapping things up…

Depending on your preference, all of the methods above to insert a column are easy to do.

Usually, if you prefer quick execution, advanced users prefer using the shortcut or the hotkey. If you’re a newbie, you could start with using the ‘Insert’ feature of Excel.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto