How to Move Columns in Excel (and Rows) – Full Tutorial

Knowing how to move rows and columns in Excel is as important as knowing how to copy and paste – it’s essential.

Whether you made a mistake or just want to experiment with the order – you need to know how it’s done.

It’s fairly easy to do so and is an everyday task, especially for experts. 😀

So, to help you with that, we have listed below a couple of ways to rearrange rows and columns in excel.

If you want to tag along with the guide, download our free sample workbook here.

How To Move Columns in Excel

Method#1: Using the Shift Key

Say you want to move a column to a new place in an Excel spreadsheet. How do you do that?

It’s easy. Let’s see the example below to understand.

We have this data set consisting of three columns.

Example data set to move columns in Excel.

We want to move column C between Columns A and B. And here’s how we will do that:

1. Select column C by clicking on the column heading.

Selecting the column to be moved.

2. Hover over the edge of the column (not the column heading) for the plus sign.

3. Hold the Shift key and drag it to a new location.

Pro Tip!

To move the columns in excel while keeping the original data intact, we need to use the Shift command all along. This helps you move the columns to a new place without disturbing the other data.

If you try to move the selected column otherwise, it will replace the entire column.

4. The final result looks like this:

The column with right or left border has been moved.

Note how the column letter has automatically adjusted here. You can do the same for rows in Excel.

If we had tried to do the same without using the Shift key, Excel would have shown a warning prompt:

Excel showing warning pop up.

And the result would look something like this:

Data from column C replaces column B

The original column B, named Amount, was overwritten as we pasted column C.

Method#2: Using the Insert, Cut Cells Hack

This method is usually used by novices. And it’s not considered a very sophisticated approach to moving columns. Nevertheless, it works well.

The process is simple. You just select, insert, copy and delete. Went over your head, right? 😂

Don’t worry – we’ve got a profound explanation below.

We are considering our previous data set for this example, and we want to move column C between columns A and B again. But this time, with a new method.

1. Select the column you want to move your current location column to. In our case, it’s column B named Amount.

Selecting the column.

2. Right-click column B and select the Insert option from the drop-down menu.

Inserting a new column

3. A blank column will appear on the left side of the selected column:

New column added.

4. Select column D or press Ctrl + X to cut or CTRL + C to copy the cell values. A moving rectangular cell will appear around the column.

Selecting column d.

5. Paste it in column B by selecting the heading of column B.

Moving column d

6. Column C appears in between columns A and B successfully.

7. Delete the previous column location if there are more columns on the right side.

Method#3: Using the CTRL Key

Just like we can move columns using the Shift key, we can use the CTRL key for the same purpose. 😀

There’s only one difference. When you copy columns using the CTRL key, the copied data is pasted into a new column. But, and that’s a big BUT – the data in the pasted column is replaced.

Didn’t understand? Let’s see it through an example below.

We are using the same data as earlier, and we want to perform the same process using the CTRL key.

1. Select column C by right-clicking the heading.

Selecting column c

2. Press CTRL and hover over the edge of the column until the plus sign appears.

3. Hold and drag the column to the desired location.

4. Column C replaces column B and appears right after the first column.

Moving column C in place of column B

What happened here was that when we pressed the CTRL key, it made a copy of column C in place of column B by overwriting column B.

You can now delete column C by clicking delete from the context menu.

Deleting column c.

How To Move Multiple Columns at the Same Time

Okay, so now you know how to move a column in Excel. But do you know how to move multiple columns simultaneously?

We bet you don’t, and we’re here to teach you just that. 😎

Let’s say we have this dataset, and we want to move columns B and C before column A.

Column B and C to be moved.

So, how do we do that? It is the same as the Shift key method we used previously.

1. Select column C by clicking the left mouse button on the heading.

Selecting column C

2. Press Shift and select column B.

Selecting both columns

3. Hover over the edge of the column until the plus sign appears.

4. Hold and drag the columns and drop them before column A.

5. The result will look something like this:

Moving columns

Note that this hack works for contiguous columns or contiguous rows only. You can not use it to move non-contiguous rows and columns in Excel.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

Move Columns To Other Worksheets

So, you know how to work with columns in a single worksheet. But what if you had to move them to another sheet in the same workbook?

Don’t worry – we can do that too. There’s a small but common hack for moving columns based on one sheet to another. If you want to sort data, you can use the sort dialog box too.

We are using the same example, and this time we want to move column A to Sheet 3.

1. Create a new sheet from the sheet tab at the bottom. Move the pointer to the + sign.

Adding new sheets

2. Select column A and press CTRL + C if you want to keep a copy of the column in Sheet 1. Otherwise, press CTRL + X to cut cells.

Selecting column A

3. Open Sheet 3.

4. Paste the contents in any column by selecting it and pressing CTRL + V.

5. The result looks like this.

Pasting column A in new sheet

How To Move Rows in Excel

We now know how to work with columns in Excel. Let’s see a brief overview of moving rows in an Excel spreadsheet too.

Method#1: Using the Shift Key

This one’s easy. Simply select the row you want to move, press shift, and drag it to the new position. 😀

Let’s see a demonstration below.

In this example dataset, you can see that the 6th row contains the wrong Order No. And it should be in the top row.

Moving row 6 to row 2

What we want to do here is move the current row to the place of the first row while keeping all the data intact. To do that:

1. Select the row number (in our case, row 6).

Selecting entire row

2. Hover over the edge until the plus sign appears.

3. Press Shift and drag the entire row to its new location.

4. The selected row moves up, and the result looks like this:

Moving row 6

You can do the same for multiple rows by selecting them at once and dragging them to the new position.

Method#2: Using the Insert, Cut, Delete Hack

You know this one already, don’t you? It’s an easy hack, and you just need to follow the same steps as with columns.

1. Select the new row where you want the previous row to be moved. In this case, we want to move row 5 above row 9.

Moving row 5 above row 9

Once selected, open the context menu with the right mouse click. Select the Insert option to add a single row.

Adding new column

A new blank row appears above the 9th row.

New row inserted

4. Cut row 5.

Cut row

5. Paste the cell values in the new empty row.

Green border around new row

6. Select row 5, right-click and select the Delete option to remove that extra row.

Deleting empty row

7. This is what your dataset looks like now:

Final result

Method#3: Using the CTRL Key

To move rows using the CTRL key:

  1. Select the row number.
  2. Press and hold CTRL.
  3. Hover over the column for the plus sign.
  4. Drag the column to its new position.
  5. The new row will appear, and the previous row will be replaced.

That’s it – Now what?

In this article, we learned easy hacks to move columns and rows in Excel using Shift, CTRL, and the Insert method.

But there is so much more you can do with columns and rows in Excel. And this article doesn’t do justice in covering even 5% of that information.

There are a ton of other things you need to learn to become an Excel expert. And you can start by practicing with fundamental Excel functions like VLOOKUP, IF, and SUMIF functions.

Enroll in my 30 minutes free email course today to learn these functions (and more!).

Other resources

If you enjoyed reading this article, we bet you’ll love the other topics we have covered.

Some of these include Deleting Blank RowsSorting Data, and Filtering Data in Excel.