How to Insert & Delete Columns & Rows in Excel

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.

Columns and rows are the foundation of an Excel sheet, and being able to add or remove them is paramount. Discover how to insert and delete columns and rows in Excel, including using ribbon commands, right clicking, and using shortcut keys. Updated: 10/20/2021

Add or Remove a Row or Column

Imagine you just spent the last two hours creating a spreadsheet for your monthly budget. You have listed and titled the bills to pay and created a couple line items for income. Everything is listed in the first column on the left of your spreadsheet. You have also created column headings for each month of the year and titled each column appropriately. This will allow you to enter and track actual expenditures for each month.

However, we have a couple issues with our spreadsheet. Somehow, we missed the month of August, so that column will need to be inserted. In addition, a row will need to be inserted since we didn't add the payment for our auto insurance. Finally, we thought the car payment should be paid twice during the month - well, I hope not! Anyway, we need to remove a row to delete the extra car payment.

This lesson will review the common ways to insert and/or delete rows and columns in MS Excel.

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  • 0:01 Add or Remove a Row or Column
  • 0:59 Ribbon or Right-Click?
  • 2:07 Using the Ribbon Commands
  • 3:43 Using the Right-Click Method
  • 5:02 Short-cut Keyboard Commands
  • 5:51 Lesson Summary
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Ribbon or Right-Click?

MS Excel has several ways to accomplish one goal. You might wonder why an application would give you more than one way to get something done, such as adding a row or column. Here is the answer. Not everyone uses the tool the same way, and not every user has the same comfort level. For example, it took me some time to prefer a mouse click over a keyboard stroke. And when Microsoft came out with the new ribbon format for their Office products, I struggled. I didn't know where the commands were located in the ribbon, and as a result, I used the 'right click with your mouse' method a lot!

There are basically three ways to take action in Excel. Keep in mind, whichever way you choose, there is no wrong or right way. It's really up to you. I have found myself using all three, depending on what I need to accomplish.

Let's review each option:

  1. Use the ribbon commands
  2. Right click with your mouse
  3. Using keyboard shortcut commands

Using the Ribbon Commands

Below are the steps to using the ribbon commands to add or remove rows and columns. In this lesson video, let's demonstrate the steps using the personal budget spreadsheet. Remember, we need to add a column for August, add a row for the auto insurance and remove the duplicate row for the car payment.

Here are the steps to add or remove columns:

  1. Select the column to the right of where you want to add a column or select the column you want to remove.
  2. Go to the Home menu in the ribbon.
  3. Look in the Cells grouping of commands.
  4. Click on the Insert command to add a column or the Delete command to remove a column. The column will be inserted to the left of the selected column or the column selected will be removed, depending on your choice to insert or delete.

Now let's take a look at the steps to adding and removing rows:

  1. Select by selecting the row below where you want to add a row or select the row that you want to remove.
  2. Go to the Home menu in the ribbon.
  3. Look in the Cells grouping of commands.
  4. Click on the Insert command to add a row or the Delete command to remove a row. The row will be inserted above the selected column or the row selected will be removed, depending on your choice to insert or delete.

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