How to Add and Delete Rows and Columns in Excel

01
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Add Rows To an Excel Worksheet

Add Rows to an Excel Worksheet using the Context Menu
Add Rows to an Excel Worksheet using the Context Menu. © Ted French

As in all Microsoft programs, there is more than one way of accomplishing a task. These instructions cover two ways to add and delete rows and columns in an Excel worksheet:

  • using a keyboard shortcut
  • using the right click context menu

Data in Deleted Columns and Rows

When columns and rows containing data are deleted, the data is deleted as well. These losses can also affect formulas and charts that referenced the data in the deleted columns and rows.

If you accidentally delete columns or rows containing data, use the undo feature on the ribbon or this keyboard shortcut to get your data back.

Add Rows Using Shortcut Keys

The keyboard key combination for adding rows to a worksheet is:

Ctrl + Shift + "+" (plus sign)

Note: If you have a keyboard with a Number Pad to the right of the regular keyboard, you can use the + sign there without the Shift key. The key combination becomes just:

Ctrl + "+" (plus sign)

  • Before adding a row, you tell Excel where you want the new one to be inserted by selecting its neighbor. This can also be done using a keyboard shortcut:

 Shift + Spacebar

Excel will insert the new row above the row selected.

To Add a Single Row using a Keyboard Shortcut

  1. Click on a cell in the row where you want the new row added
  2. Press and hold down the Shift key on the keyboard
  3. Press and release the Spacebar without releasing the Shift key
  4. The entire row should be select
  5. Press and hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys on the keyboard
  6. Press and release the " + " key without releasing the Ctrl and Shift keys
  7. A new row should be added above the selected row

To Add Multiple Adjacent Rows using a Keyboard Shortcut

You tell Excel how many new adjacent rows you want to add to the worksheet by selecting the same number of existing rows.

If you want to insert two new rows, select two existing rows where you want the new ones to be located. If you want three new rows, select three existing rows.

To Add Three New Rows to a Worksheet

  1. Click on a cell in the row where you want the new rows added
  2. Press and hold down the Shift key on the keyboard
  3. Press and release the Spacebar without releasing the Shift key
  4. The entire row should be select
  5. Continue to hold down the Shift key
  6. Press and release the Up arrow key twice to select two additional rows
  7. Press and hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys on the keyboard
  8. Press and release the " + " key without releasing the Ctrl and Shift keys
  9. Three new rows should be added above the selected rows

Add Rows Using the Context Menu

The option in the context menu - or right-click menu - that will be used to add rows to a worksheet is Insert.

As with the keyboard method above, before adding a row, you tell Excel where you want the new one to be inserted by selecting its neighbor.

The easiest way to add rows using the context menu is to select the entire row by clicking on the row header.

To Add a Single Row to a Worksheet

  1. Click on the row header of a row where you want the new row added to select the entire row
  2. Right click on the selected row to open the context menu
  3. Choose Insert from the menu
  4. A new row should be added above the selected row

To Add Multiple Adjacent Rows

Again, you tell Excel how many new rows you want to add to the worksheet by selecting the same number of existing rows.

To Add Three New Rows to a Worksheet

  1. In the row header, click and drag with the mouse pointer to highlight three rows where you want the new rows added
  2. Right click on the selected rows
  3. Choose Insert from the menu
  4. Three new rows should be added above the selected rows

02
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Delete Rows in an Excel Worksheet

Delete Individual Rows in an Excel Worksheet
Delete Individual Rows in an Excel Worksheet. © Ted French

The keyboard key combination for deleting rows from a worksheet is:

 Ctrl + "-" (minus sign)

The easiest way to delete a row is to select the entire row to be deleted. This can also be done using a keyboard shortcut:

Shift + Spacebar

To Delete a Single Row using a Keyboard Shortcut

  1. Click on a cell in the row to be deleted
  2. Press and hold down the Shift key on the keyboard
  3. Press and release the Spacebar without releasing the Shift key
  4. The entire row should be select
  5. Release the Shift key
  6. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard
  7. Press and release the " - " key without releasing the Ctrl key
  8. The selected row should be deleted

To Delete Adjacent Rows using a Keyboard Shortcut

Selecting adjacent rows in a worksheet will allow you to delete them all at once. Selecting adjacent rows can be done using the arrow keys on the keyboard after the first row is selected.

To Delete Three Rows from a Worksheet

  1. Click on a cell in a row at the bottom end of the group of rows to be deleted
  2. Press and hold down the Shift key on the keyboard
  3. Press and release the spacebar without releasing the Shift key
  4. The entire row should be select
  5. Continue to hold down the Shift key
  6. Press and release the Up arrow key twice to select two additional rows
  7. Release the Shift key
  8. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard
  9. Press and release the " - " key without releasing the Ctrl key
  10. The three selected rows should be deleted

Delete Rows Using the Context Menu

The option in the context menu - or right-click menu - that will be used to delete rows from a worksheet is Delete.

The easiest way to delete rows using the context menu is to select the entire row by clicking on the row header.

To Delete a Single Row to a Worksheet

  1. Click on the row header of the row to be deleted
  2. Right click on the selected row to open the context menu
  3. Choose Delete from the menu
  4. The selected row should be deleted

To Delete Multiple Adjacent Rows

Again, multiple adjacent rows can be deleted at the same time if they are all selected

To Delete Three Rows from a Worksheet

In the row header, click and drag with the mouse pointer to highlight three adjacent rows

  1. Right click on the selected rows
  2. Choose Delete from the menu
  3. The three selected rows should be deleted

To Delete Separate Rows

As shown in the image above, separate, or non-adjacent rows can be deleted at the same time by first selecting them with the Ctrl key and mouse.

To Select Separate Rows

  1. Click In the row header of the first row to be deleted
  2. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard
  3. Click on additional rows in the row header to select them
  4. Right click on the selected rows
  5. Choose Delete from the menu
  6. The selected rows should be deleted

03
of 04

Add Columns to an Excel Worksheet

Add Multiple Columns to an Excel Worksheet with the Context Menu
Add Multiple Columns to an Excel Worksheet with the Context Menu. © Ted French

The keyboard key combination for adding columns to a worksheet is the same as for adding rows:

 Ctrl + Shift+ "+" (plus sign)

Note: If you have a keyboard with a Number Pad to the right of the regular keyboard, you can use the + sign there without the Shift key. The key combination becomes just Ctrl + "+".

  • Before adding a column, you tell Excel where you want the new one to be inserted by selecting its neighbor. This can also be done using a keyboard shortcut:

Ctrl+ Spacebar

Excel will insert the new column to the left of the column selected.

To Add a Single Column using a Keyboard Shortcut

  1. Click on a cell in the column where you want the new column added
  2. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard
  3. Press and release the Spacebar without releasing the Ctrl key
  4. The entire column should be select
  5. Press and hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys on the keyboard
  6. Press and release the " + " without releasing the Ctrl and Shift keys
  7. A new column should be added to the left of the selected column

To Add Multiple Adjacent Columns using a Keyboard Shortcut

You tell Excel how many new adjacent columns you want to add to the worksheet by selecting the same number of existing columns.

If you want to insert two new columns, select two existing columns where you want the new ones to be located. If you want three new columns, select three existing columns.

To Add Three New Columns to a Worksheet

  1. Click on a cell in the column where you want the new columns added
  2. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard
  3. Press and release the spacebar without releasing the Ctrl key
  4. The entire column should be select
  5. Release the Ctrl key
  6. Press and hold down the Shift key on the keyboard
  7. Press and release the Right arrow key twice to select two additional columns
  8. Press and hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys on the keyboard
  9. Press and release the " + " without releasing the Ctrl and Shift keys
  10. Three new columns should be added to the left the selected columns

Add Columns Using the Context Menu

The option in the context menu - or right-click menu - that will be used to add columns to a worksheet is Insert.

As with the keyboard method above, before adding a column, you tell Excel where you want the new one to be inserted by selecting its neighbor.

The easiest way to add columns using the context menu is to select the entire column by clicking on the column header.

To Add a Single Column to a Worksheet

  1. Click on the column header of a column where you want the new column added to select the entire column
  2. Right click on the selected column to open the context menu
  3. Choose Insert from the menu
  4. A new column should be added above the selected column

To Add Multiple Adjacent Columns

Again as with rows, you tell Excel how many new columns you want to add to the worksheet by selecting the same number of existing columns.

To Add Three New Columns to a Worksheet

  1. In the column header, click and drag with the mouse pointer to highlight three columns where you want the new columns added
  2. Right click on the selected columns
  3. Choose Insert from the menu
  4. Three new columns should be added to the left of the selected columns

04
of 04

Delete Columns from an Excel Worksheet

Delete Individual Columns in an Excel Worksheet
Delete Individual Columns in an Excel Worksheet. © Ted French

The keyboard key combination for deleting columns from a worksheet is:

 Ctrl + "-" (minus sign)

The easiest way to delete a column is to select the entire column to be deleted. This can also be done using a keyboard shortcut:

Ctrl + Spacebar

To Delete a Single Column using a Keyboard Shortcut

  1. Click on a cell in the column to be deleted
  2. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard
  3. Press and release the Spacebar without releasing the Shift key
  4. The entire column should be select
  5. Continue to hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard
  6. Press and release the " - " key without releasing the Ctrl key
  7. The selected column should be deleted

To Delete Adjacent Columns using a Keyboard Shortcut

Selecting adjacent columns in a worksheet will allow you to delete them all at once. Selecting adjacent columns can be done using the arrow keys on the keyboard after the first column is selected.

To Delete Three Columns from a Worksheet

  1. Click on a cell in a column at the bottom end of the group of columns to be deleted
  2. Press and hold down the Shift key on the keyboard
  3. Press and release the spacebar without releasing the Shift key
  4. The entire column should be select
  5. Continue to hold down the Shift key
  6. Press and release the Up arrow keyboard twice to select two additional columns
  7. Release the Shift key
  8. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard
  9. Press and release the " - " key without releasing the Ctrl key
  10. The three selected columns should be deleted

Delete Columns Using the Context Menu

The option in the context menu - or right-click menu - that will be used to delete columns from a worksheet is Delete.

The easiest way to delete columns using the context menu is to select the entire column by clicking on the column header.

To Delete a Single Column to a Worksheet

  1. Click on the column header of the column to be deleted
  2. Right click on the selected column to open the context menu
  3. Choose Delete from the menu
  4. The selected column should be deleted

To Delete Multiple Adjacent Columns

Again, multiple adjacent columns can be deleted at the same time if they are all selected

To Delete Three Columns from a Worksheet

  1. In the column header, click and drag with the mouse pointer to highlight three adjacent columns
  2. Right click on the selected columns
  3. Choose Delete from the menu
  4. The three selected columns should be deleted

To Delete Separate Columns

As shown in the image above, separate, or non-adjacent columns can be deleted at the same time by first selecting them with the Ctrl key and mouse.

To Select Separate Columns

  1. Click In the column header of the first column to be deleted
  2. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard
  3. Click on additional rows in the column header to select them
  4. Right click on the selected columns
  5. Choose Delete from the menu
  6. The selected columns should be deleted