Modifying Columns, Rows, and Cells

In Excel column width can be modified, as can row height and width in Excel. Learn to modify Excel cells in this free Excel 2016 lesson.

Inserting, deleting, moving, and hiding

After you've been working with a workbook for a while, you may find that you want to insert new columns or rows, delete certain rows or columns, move them to a different location in the worksheet, or even hide them.

To insert rows:

  1. Select the row heading below where you want the new row to appear. In this example, we want to insert a row between rows 4 and 5, so we'll select row 5.
    selecting row 5
  2. Click the Insert command on the Home tab.
    clicking the Insert command
  3. The new row will appear above the selected row.
    the newly inserted row

When inserting new rows, columns, or cells, you will see a paintbrush icon next to the inserted cells. This button allows you to choose how Excel formats these cells. By default, Excel formats inserted rows with the same formatting as the cells in the row above. To access more options, hover your mouse over the icon, then click the drop-down arrow.

choosing more insert formatting options

To insert columns:

  1. Select the column heading to the right of where you want the new column to appear. For example, if you want to insert a column between columns D and E, select column E.
    selecting column E
  2. Click the Insert command on the Home tab.
    clicking the Insert command
  3. The new column will appear to the left of the selected column.
    the newly inserted column

When inserting rows and columns, make sure you select the entire row or column by clicking the heading. If you select only a cell in the row or column, the Insert command will only insert a new cell.

To delete a row or column:

It's easy to delete a row or column that you no longer need. In our example we'll delete a row, but you can delete a column the same way.

  1. Select the row you want to delete. In our example, we'll select row 9.
    selecting row 9
  2. Click the Delete command on the Home tab.
    clicking the delete command
  3. The selected row will be deleted, and those around it will shift. In our example, row 10 has moved up, so it's now row 9.
    the shifted rows after deleting

It's important to understand the difference between deleting a row or column and simply clearing its contents. If you want to remove the content from a row or column without causing others to shift, right-click a heading, then select Clear Contents from the drop-down menu.

clearing the contents of a row instead of deleting