Excel Columns:
How to Add or Insert a New Column Easily

🖋️ By Kasper Langmann, Certified Microsoft Office Specialist. 📅 Updated on February 28th, 2024.

Adding columns in our worksheets might just be one of the most basic tasks that we do in Excel.

Adding one column is not a problem. But what if you need to add multiple columns? 😱

That will not be a problem too! Learn different and faster ways to either insert a single column or insert multiple columns at once. This will surely help you insert important data faster, and work smarter in Excel😀

Let’s go!

You can download this free practice workbook we’ve prepared for you to work on.

Add columns with right-click

The easiest way to add a column in Excel is by using the right-click option. You can insert a column within two clicks of your mouse.

You can do this in two ways too! You can right-click the column letter or right-click a cell in a column. We’ll teach you how to do both👇

Right-click the Column letter

You can right-click the column letter to add a column in Excel.

The column letter is a gray-colored row containing the letters (A, B, C, … ) used to identify each column in the worksheets.

column header in Microsoft excel

Open your practice workbook. Let’s say we want to insert a new column in the sheet intended for the titles of the names in the list.

Let’s insert a column after the Full Name column below.

  1. Right-click column letter B.
  2. Click Insert.
right click insert option

Viola! You’ve inserted a new column👍

new column

We can add a title to this new column. Let’s type “Title” and fill in the needed data.

insert sheet columns

(The emails we use in these examples are generated from a fake email generator and do not belong to anyone.)

Pro Tip!

You can also highlight the whole column by selecting a cell and then press “Ctrl” + “Space” on your keyboard. Then follow the steps above to insert a column immediately.

Right-click the cell

You can also right-click the cell in a column to insert a new column.

Say, we want to add a column between columns C and D.

  1. Right-click on cell C4.
  2. Then click Insert.
simply right click

An insert dialog box will pop up. Giving you options on what to insert.

  1. Click the Entire column option.
  2. Finally, click OK.
Insert entire column

That’s it! You got a whole column you can use to insert needed data in your worksheet😊

new column

Add columns from the ribbon menu

Another way to add columns is by using the Standard Menu option. You can insert columns by clicking the Insert button in the Home Tab of the Excel ribbon.

For example, let’s insert a new column between columns E and F in our workbook. To do that, make sure to click Column F or any of its cells👇

  1. Select any cell in Column F.
insert sheet columns in excel
  1. Go to the Home Tab, and head over to the Cells Group.
Click Cells group

In the Cells Group, you will find the Insert, Delete, and Format Cells options.

  1. Click the dropdown arrow in the Insert button.
  2. Select the Insert Sheet Columns option.
insert sheet columns

The column you select is the new location where your column will be inserted. This will move the other columns and their values to the right.

This moves columns to the right.

Add columns with shortcuts

You can do all the steps you have done above easier and faster with keyboard shortcuts. All you have to do is to press certain key combinations on your keyboard to perform tasks and functions in Excel. Here’s how.

First, select the column letter. In our workbook, select column letter E.

Then hold down the keys “Ctrl” + “Shift” + “+“.

select column

You get an instant column😀

new column

Insert Column Hot Key

You can also use the Insert Column Hot Key. A hot key 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.

selected cell

Alt” + “I” is the hotkey for “Insert”.

Alt” + “I” + “C” is the hotkey for “Insert columns”.

new column

Insert a column using the right-click or standard menu option. Insert a column like a PRO when you use the keyboard shortcuts, especially the Insert column hot keys😎

This works not only in inserting one column but also inserting multiple columns in Excel!

How to add multiple columns at once

You can forget having to insert a column one by one. Why do that when you can insert multiple columns at once? There are plenty of ways to choose from when you want to insert multiple columns.

We can use the right-click option to insert multiple columns.

Let’s add three new columns to our worksheet. A column for First Name, Middle Initial, and Last Name.

  1. Highlight Column letters C, D, E.
select column
  1. Right-click and select Insert.
insert option

Three new columns are added in seconds⚡

new columns

You can choose to do this using the Standard Menu option as well. Any of the ways will yield the same results.

The number of columns you highlight will be the number of columns that will be inserted into the worksheet.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

Insert Column Hot Key

Let’s try to insert multiple new columns using keyboard shortcuts. Specifically, the Insert Column Hotkey.

  1. Select cells C3 to E5.
  2. Press Alt + I + C on your keyboard.
select cells

Columns are inserted instantly🙌

new multiple columns

You can add single or multiple columns using the Keyboard shortcut. Whichever works for you. But this one is our favorite😊

That’s it – Now what?

Nice work! Adding columns might be basic and repetitive when working in Excel but you can always level up by adding multiple columns using shortcuts😀

You can now add a column or columns as needed in your worksheets to insert important data that shouldn’t be missing in your report or records.

While adding rows is easy, Excel has a lot in store for you to make your work easier. Learn about Excel’s built-in functions like the IF and SUMIF function. Don’t miss out on Excel’s most popular function too: the VLOOKUP function🚀

You won’t be missing these when you join my free 30-minute video course.

Other resources

Do you want to know how to insert rows instead? We got you! Click here to learn how to insert rows in Excel.

You can actually transpose data between rows and columns in excel. Read our How to Transpose Data in Excel: Turn Rows into Columns guide to help you transpose data between rows and columns!

Happy reading (and learning)👋