Moving Columns in Excel (Table of Content)
- How to Move Columns in Excel
- Moving Columns through Swapping
- Moving Columns through Cutting & Pasting
- Moving Multiple Columns in Excel
How to Move Columns in Excel
Using Excel in our daily work makes us realize that no matter how planned and Logical we try to make our spreadsheet at the end we need to shuffle the rows and columns every once in a while. We can always hide the columns and rows wherever required but most of the times we need to move the entire columns and rows for logical reasons. In this topic, we are going to learn about Moving Columns in Excel in essential ways.
Excel does not have a separate command or a separate function for performing the moving of columns and rows action. Dragging the column does not work in excel.
However, there are several ways for moving the columns in excel. They are explained below.
Moving Columns through Swapping
Dragging columns in excel is a complicated procedure. It is trickier than one can think of. Let’s understand this method with the help of an example.
In the snapshot below we have an inventory list of a company. The Columns contain the details as Inventory ID, Name, Description, Unit Price, Quantity in Stock, Inventory Value, etc. and the rows contain the details of the columns.
So now we want to swap certain columns among each other like we need to swap the Inventory Value column in the F Column with Unit Price. We need to follow certain steps for doing so. We need to select the column we need to move which in our case is the F column. After we have selected the column we need to place the cursor on the edge of the selection. The mouse cursor changes from the normal cursor to the move cursor. Press and hold the shift key, and while holding the shift key, drag the column to the desired location where you need to swap the column. Once you start dragging the column a green colored symbol will appear in the column indicating where you need to place the column. Release the mouse button and the columns will be swapped to the new location.
Which in our case is the D Column? As we can see from the snapshot above. The column has been swapped as per our requirement. The same process needs to be followed for moving the rows to desired locations.
Moving Columns through Cutting & Pasting
We can also move the columns using the cut & Paste Command in Excel. Let us understand this with the help of the same example.
Step 1: Select the column you need to move by clicking on the column header and then use the Cut command by pressing Control+X or by choosing Cut command after right-clicking on the column header.
Step 2: After we have used the cut command we need to select the column “before” which we need to insert the cut column. Right click on the header and choose ‘Insert Cut Cells’ from the right-click menu.
As a result of this, the columns are moved to our desired location as shown in the screenshot. The same process needs to be followed for moving the rows to desired locations.
Moving Multiple Columns in Excel
Many times we have to move multiple columns in excel. It is possible to move the multiple columns or rows provided they are adjacent to each other. Let us understand this with the help of our previous example.
Step 1: For moving multiple columns we need to select the adjacent columns which we need to move which in our case is column F, G, H.
Step 2: After we have selected the column we need to place the cursor on the edge of the selection. The mouse cursor changes from the normal cursor to the move cursor.
Step 3: Press and hold the shift key, and while holding the shift key, drag the column to the desired location where you need to swap the column. Release the mouse button and the columns will be swapped to the new location. The selected columns are moved to the new columns which are D, E, F as shown below.
With the help of this example, we can understand that the same process as moving single column needs to be followed for moving multiple columns as well. The only difference is in the selection of the columns. The same process needs to be followed for multiple columns while using the cut and paste command for moving the columns as explained above. We Just have to select the multiple columns together and move.
Things to Remember
There are certain things we need to remember for using the move column command in excel.
Moving non-adjacent columns & rows is not possible in excel which means we can only swap or move the columns which are side by side to one another. If we try and use the control key for selecting non-adjacent rows and columns and use the cut command, the following error pops up as shown in the screenshot below.
We can use the Control+Space Command for selecting the entire column all at once.
It is also to be noted that we cannot move or swap columns which contain merged cells. If we try moving the columns or rows which contain merged cells, the following error pops up as shown in the screenshot below.
We can also use (Virtual Basic For Application) VBA which is the programming language for excel for moving or swapping columns and rows. We need to write the macros that would move the columns and rows in excel automatically. However, this is a more lengthy and impractical method as it is very time-consuming. And even after writing down the macros it is not necessary that the macros we have used are 100% accurate which might lead to failure of the task. Hence it is not advisable to use VBA for this particular function.
While using the Cut Paste command for moving the cells it is advisable to have a check on which column the right click pop up is used. Please, note that excel pastes the Cut Cells Before the selected column.
This has been a guide to Moving Columns in Excel. Here we discussed Moving Columns through Swapping, cutting and pasting and also Moving Multiple Columns in Excel. You may also look at these useful functions in excel –