Microsoft Excel: Inserting Rows and Columns with Ease

By David Ringstrom, CPA

Spreadsheet users frequently insert rows and columns into spreadsheets, but for most users, it's a multiple-step process. Even savvy users who rely on keyboard shortcuts have to use two different shortcuts in sequence. In this article, I'll explain how you can create your own custom shortcut to insert rows or columns with a single keyboard shortcut or mouse click.
 
There are several ways to add rows or columns to a spreadsheet:
  • Excel 2007 and later: As shown in Figure 1, on the Home tab, choose Insert and then Insert Sheet Rows or Insert Sheet Columns.
Figure 1: Many users rely on the Insert Sheet Rows command to insert new rows in a spreadsheet.
 
  • Excel 2003 and earlier: Choose Insert and then Sheet Rows or Sheet Columns
  • In any version of Excel, you can also insert rows and columns by way of the worksheet frame. As shown in Figure 2, select one or more rows or columns, right-click on the selection, then choose Insert.
 
Figure 2: You can right-click on the worksheet frame and choose Insert to add new rows or columns. 
 
  • Some users rely on a keystroke approach to insert rows:
1. Press Shift-space bar to select a single row. You can optionally then hold down the Shift key and use the arrow keys to select additional rows.
2. Press Ctrl -+ to insert rows. In this context, make sure you're using the + sign on your number pad; otherwise, you'll want to press Ctrl-Shift-+ if you're accessing the plus sign that is somewhat adjacent to the letter P on your keyboard. 
 
You can use this same approach with columns that you select by way of the Ctrl-space bar keyboard shortcut. Ctrl+ also works for rows   or columns that you select with your mouse.

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