5 tips for working with columns, rows, and cells in Excel 2007

Excel 2007 Step by Step book cover

Microsoft Office Excel 2007 Step by Step
By Curtis D. Frye

Buy from amazon.com

Curtis D. Frye is a freelance author and Microsoft Office Excel Most Valuable Professional living in Portland, Oregon. He is a coauthor of Microsoft Office Excel 2003 Programming Inside Out and the author of Microsoft Office Excel 2003 Step by Step, Microsoft Excel Version 2002 Plain & Simple, Faster Smarter Home Networking, several books on Microsoft Access, and numerous online training courses.

To learn more about other books on the 2007 Microsoft Office system, visit Microsoft Press.


In this article


This article provides five tips that will make it easier to work with data in worksheets you create in Microsoft Office Excel 2007.

Tip 1. Modify width and height of columns

Modifying column width and row height can make a worksheet’s contents easier to work with. You can change the width of a column or the height of a row in a worksheet by dragging the column or row’s border to the desired position. Increasing a column’s width or a row’s height increases the space between cell contents, making it easier to select a cell’s data without inadvertently selecting data from other cells as well.

 Note   You can apply the same change to more than one row or column by selecting the rows or columns you want to change and then dragging the border of one of the selected rows or columns to the desired location. When you release the mouse button, all the selected rows or columns change to the new height or width.

Top of Page Top of Page

Tip 2. Insert row or column to add space

You can also insert a row or column between the edge of a worksheet and the cells that contain the data to make it easier to work with a worksheet’s contents. Adding space between the edge of a worksheet and cells, or perhaps between a label and the data to which it refers, makes the workbook’s contents less crowded and easier to work with. You insert rows by clicking a cell and clicking the Home tab. Then, in the Cells group, click the Insert button’s down arrow and click Insert Sheet Rows. Office Excel 2007 inserts a row above the row that contains the active cell. You insert a column in much the same way by choosing Insert Sheet Columns from the Insert button’s drop-down list. When you do this, Office Excel 2007 inserts a column to the left of the active cell. When you insert a row, column, or cell in a worksheet with existing formatting, the Insert Options button appears. Clicking the Insert Options button displays a list of choices you can make about how the inserted row or column should be formatted. The following table summarizes your options.

Option Action
Format Same as Above Applies the format of the row above the inserted row to the new row.
Format Same as Below Applies the format of the row below the inserted row to the new row.
Format Same as Left Applies the format of the column to the left of the inserted column to the new column.
Format Same as Right Applies the format of the column to the right of the inserted column to the new column.
Clear Formatting Applies the default format to the new row or column.

Top of Page Top of Page

Tip 3. Hide columns or rows

You can temporarily hide a number of rows or columns by selecting those rows or columns and then, on the Home tab, in the Cells group, clicking the Format button, pointing to Hide & Unhide, and then clicking either Hide Rows or Hide Columns. The rows or columns you selected disappear, but they aren’t gone for good, as they would be if you’d used Delete. Instead, they have just been removed from the display until you call them back. To return the hidden rows to the display, on the Home tab, in the Cells group, click the Format button, point to Hide & Unhide, and then click either Unhide Rows or Unhide Columns.

Top of Page Top of Page

Tip 4. Insert or delete cells in worksheet

Likewise, you can insert individual cells into a worksheet. To insert a cell, click the cell that is currently in the position where you want the new cell to appear. On the Home tab, in the Cells group, click the Insert button down arrow and then click Insert Cells to display the Insert dialog box. In the Insert dialog box, you can choose whether to shift the cells surrounding the inserted cell down (if your data is arranged as a column) or to the right (if your data is arranged as a row). When you click OK, the new cell appears, and the contents of affected cells shift down or to the right, as appropriate. In a similar vein, if you want to delete a block of cells, select the cells, and on the Home tab of the user interface, in the Cells group, click the Delete button down arrow and then click Delete Cells to display the Delete dialog box—complete with option buttons that enable you to choose how to shift the position of the cells around the deleted cells.

 Note   The Insert dialog box also includes option buttons you can select to insert a new row or column; the Delete dialog box has similar buttons that enable you to delete an entire row or column.

Top of Page Top of Page

Tip 5. Move data in worksheet

If you want to move the data in a group of cells to another location in your worksheet, select the cells you want to move and position the mouse pointer on the selection’s border. When the mouse pointer changes to a four-way arrow, you can drag the selected cells to the desired location on the worksheet. If the destination cells contain data, Office Excel 2007 displays a dialog box asking if you want to overwrite the destination cells’ contents. If you want to replace the existing values, click the OK button. If you don’t want to overwrite the existing values, click the Cancel button and insert the required number of cells to accommodate the data you want to move.

Top of Page Top of Page

 
 
Applies to:
Excel 2007