Cells in Excel: How to Insert and Delete Cells

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

Adding and removing cells in Microsoft Excel can be accomplished in two ways. Learn how to insert and delete cells in Excel using the ribbon commands method and the right-click method. Updated: 10/29/2021

Adding and Removing Cells

When working with an Excel worksheet, it's not uncommon to find yourself needing to add or remove a cell or range of cells. You may forget to add something, need to reorganize the spreadsheet or decide to remove certain data in the worksheet. Insert means to add a cell or range of cells. Delete means to remove a cell or range of cells. This lesson will guide you through the steps to inserting or deleting cells when working on Excel spreadsheets.

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  • 0:01 Adding & Removing Cells
  • 0:34 Using the Ribbon Commands
  • 3:19 Using the Right-Click
  • 5:02 Lesson Summary
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Using the Ribbon Commands

As with most software programs, there is more than one way to complete the task of inserting and deleting cells in Excel. The Insert and Delete commands can be found in two places: you can find them under the Home menu in the ribbon or with a right-click of your mouse. Let's take a look at an example using the ribbon commands.

Imagine you have a teenager in high school. This is Amanda's freshman year, and she has decided she wants to play hockey. The coach sent you an email detailing the costs for Amanda to play. You decided to put together a spreadsheet with equipment, ice-time and fees showing the cost associated with each item. You have highlighted your costs in red, the school's in black. At the bottom, you have a total for the entire list.

Spreadsheet for example
spreadsheet for example

Now you want to add a cell above the total and add a sub-total for the items in red, or the cost to you as the parent. Let's review the steps:

  1. First, click on the cell below where you want to add a cell (in our example, this is B14, or the total).
  2. Then, go to the Home menu in the ribbon.
  3. And look in the Cells grouping of commands.
  4. Click on the More icon to the Insert command (it's the upside-down triangle).
  5. And then select Insert Cells from the drop-down menu, and you'll see the Insert Cells dialogue box open. You have two options:
  • You can select Shift Cells Right to shift cells in the same row, but to the right.
  • Or, you can select Shift Cells Down to shift selected cells and all cells in the column below it downward.

Let's choose to Shift Cells Down. This will add the cell for the sub-total directly above the total for all costs.

To remove a cell or range of cells, you would use the Delete command in the ribbon and the steps would be similar. From the Home menu in the ribbon, open the Delete cells dialogue box and choose one of the following:

  • Shift Cells Left to shift cells in the same row to the left.
  • Or, Shift Cells Up to shift selected cells and all cells in the column above it upward.

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