Insert rows, columns, or cells

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You can insert blank cells above or to the left of the active cell on your worksheet, shifting other cells in the same column down or in the same row to the right. You can also insert rows above and columns to the left of the active cell on your worksheet.

 Important   When you insert cells, rows, or columns, keep in mind that the maximum size of a worksheet is 65,536 rows by 256 columns.

Insert blank cells on a worksheet

Insert rows on a worksheet

Insert columns on a worksheet

Insert blank cells on a worksheet

  1. Select the cell or the range (range: Two or more cells on a sheet. The cells in a range can be adjacent or nonadjacent.) of cells where you want to insert the new blank cells. Select the same number of cells as you want to insert. For example, to insert five blank cells, you need to select five cells.

ShowHow to select cells or ranges

To select Do this
A single cell Click the cell, or press the arrow keys to move to the cell.
A range of cells

Click the first cell of the range, and then drag to the last cell, or hold down SHIFT while you press the arrow keys to extend the selection.

You can also select the first cell of the range and then press F8 to extend the selection by using the arrow keys.

A large range of cells Click the first cell in the range, and then hold down SHIFT while you click the last cell in the range. You can scroll to make the last cell visible.
Nonadjacent cells or cell ranges

Select the first cell or range of cells, and then hold down CTRL while you select the other cells or ranges.

You can also select the first cell or range of cells and then press SHIFT+F8 to add another nonadjacent cell or range to the selection.

 Note   You cannot cancel the selection of a cell or range of cells in a nonadjacent selection without canceling the entire selection.

More or fewer cells than the active selection Hold down SHIFT while you click the last cell that you want to include in the new selection. The rectangular range between the active cell (active cell: The selected cell in which data is entered when you begin typing. Only one cell is active at a time. The active cell is bounded by a heavy border.) and the cell that you click becomes the new selection.

 Note   To cancel a selection of cells, click any cell on the worksheet.

  1. On the Insert menu, click Cells.

Tip    You can also right-click the selected cells and then click Insert on the shortcut menu.

  1. In the Insert dialog box, click the direction in which you want to shift the surrounding cells.


 Notes 

Tips

  • To quickly repeat the action of inserting a cell, click the location where you want to insert the cell, and then press CTRL+Y.
  • If there is formatting, you can use Insert Options Button image to choose how to set the formatting of the inserted cells.

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Insert rows on a worksheet

  1. To select rows, do one of the following:
    • To insert a single row, select the row or a cell in the row above which you want to insert the new row. For example, to insert a new row above row 5, click a cell in row 5.
    • To insert multiple rows, select the rows above which you want to insert rows. Select the same number of rows as you want to insert. For example, to insert three new rows, you need to select three rows.
    • To insert nonadjacent rows, hold down CTRL while you select nonadjacent rows.

ShowHow to select rows

To select Do this
An entire row or column

Click the row or column heading.

Worksheet showing row heading and column heading

Callout 1 Row heading
Callout 2 Column heading
Adjacent rows or columns Drag across the row or column headings. Or select the first row or column; then hold down SHIFT while you select the last row or column.
Nonadjacent rows or columns Click the column or row heading of the first row or column in your selection; then hold down CTRL while you click the column or row headings of other rows or columns that you want to add to the selection.

 Note   To cancel a selection of rows or columns, click any cell on the worksheet.

  1. On the Insert menu, click Rows.

Tip    You can also right-click the selected rows and then click Insert on the shortcut menu.

 Note   When you insert rows on your worksheet, all references that are affected by the insertion adjust accordingly, whether they are relative (relative reference: In a formula, the address of a cell based on the relative position of the cell that contains the formula and the cell referred to. If you copy the formula, the reference automatically adjusts. A relative reference takes the form A1.) or absolute references. The same applies to deleting rows, except when a deleted cell is directly referenced by a formula. If you want references to adjust automatically, it's a good idea to use range references whenever appropriate in your formulas, rather than specifying individual cells.

Tips

  • To quickly repeat the action of inserting a row, click the location where you want to insert the row, and then press CTRL+Y.
  • If there is formatting, you can use Insert Options Button image to choose how to set the formatting of the inserted rows.

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Insert columns on a worksheet

  1. To select columns, do one of the following:
    • To insert a single column, select the column or a cell in the column immediately to the right of where you want to insert the new column. For example, to insert a new column to the left of column B, click a cell in column B.
    • To insert multiple columns, select the columns immediately to the right of where you want to insert columns. Select the same number of columns as you want to insert. For example, to insert three new columns, you need to select three columns.
    • To insert nonadjacent columns, hold down CTRL while you select nonadjacent columns.

ShowHow to select columns

To select Do this
An entire row or column

Click the row or column heading.

Worksheet showing row heading and column heading

Callout 1 Row heading
Callout 2 Column heading
Adjacent rows or columns Drag across the row or column headings. Or select the first row or column; then hold down SHIFT while you select the last row or column.
Nonadjacent rows or columns Click the column or row heading of the first row or column in your selection; then hold down CTRL while you click the column or row headings of other rows or columns that you want to add to the selection.

 Note   To cancel a selection of rows or columns, click any cell on the worksheet.

  1. On the Insert menu, click Columns.

Tip    You can also right-click the selected cells and then click Insert on the shortcut menu.

 Note   When you insert columns on your worksheet, all references that are affected by the insertion adjust accordingly, whether they are relative (relative reference: In a formula, the address of a cell based on the relative position of the cell that contains the formula and the cell referred to. If you copy the formula, the reference automatically adjusts. A relative reference takes the form A1.) or absolute references. The same applies to deleting columns, except when a deleted cell is directly referenced by a formula. If you want references to adjust automatically, it's a good idea to use range references whenever appropriate in your formulas, rather than specifying individual cells.

Tips

  • To quickly repeat the action of inserting a column, click the location where you want to insert the column, and then press CTRL+Y.
  • If there is formatting, you can use Insert Options Button image to choose how to set the formatting of the inserted columns.

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Applies to:
Excel 2003