Rearrange columns in Excel table

Knowing how to move rows and columns in Excel is as important as knowing how to copy and paste – it’s essential.

This is something you’d have to do almost all the time while you work in Excel.

So what are you waiting for? Dive into the guide below where we have listed all the possible ways (and shortcuts) to move columns and rows in Excel🚀

Also, to tag along with the guide, download our free sample workbook here.

Table of Contents

How to move columns in Excel

There are several ways how you can move or rearrange columns in Excel. Let’s look into each of them below:

Method # 1: Using the Shift key

The first (and the basic) method of moving columns in Excel is by using the Shift key.

How? Look into the example below to understand that.

Example data set to move columns in Excel.

The data above consists of three columns.

Let’s say we want to move column C between Columns A and B. Here’s how we will do that:

  1. Select column C by clicking on the column header.

Selecting the column to be moved.

  1. Hover over the edge of the column and a plus sign appears.
  2. Hold down the Shift key when you see the plus sign.
  3. Drag the selected column to the targeted location (before Column B).

Pro Tip!

To move the columns in Excel while keeping the original data intact, we need to use the Shift command all along. This helps you move the columns to the targeted place without disturbing other data.

However, if you try to move the selected column as above using the Control Key, the targeted column will be replaced 🎯

  1. The final result looks like this.

The column with right or left border has been moved.

Column C (Names) is now placed between the column for Order Number and Amount.

Also, note how the column letter has automatically adjusted here (Column C is now Column B). You can do the same for rows in Excel.

If we had tried to do the same without using the Shift key, Excel would have shown a warning prompt 🚩

Excel showing warning pop up.

And the result would look something like this:

Data from column C replaces column B

The original column B (Amount) is overwritten as we pasted column C in its place.

Method # 2: Using the insert, cut, and paste hack

This method is usually used by Excel newbies. And honestly, it’s not a very sophisticated approach for moving columns. Nevertheless, it works well.

The process is simple. You just select, insert, cut, paste and delete. Bounced over your head?

Don’t worry – we’ve got a detailed explanation below.

Let’s use the same dataset as in the example above. And we again want to move column C between columns A and B, but this time, with a new method.

  1. Select the destined column (where you want to move Column C).

In our case, it’s column B (Amount).

Selecting the column.

  1. Right-click column B and select the Insert option from the drop-down menu.

Inserting a new column

  1. A blank column will appear on the left side of the selected column:

New column added.

  1. Select column D or press Ctrl + X to cut or CTRL + C to copy the entire column.

Note that after we’ve inserted an additional column before Column B, all columns have moved an alphabet ahead.

The column for Names (previously Column C) has now become Column D 👀

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

A moving, dotted enclosure will appear around the column. That’s when you’re ready to paste it to the new location.

Selecting column d.

  1. Select the header Column B.
  2. Press down the Control Key + V to paste the column.

Moving column d

  1. Column D moves between columns A and C (previously Column B) successfully.

Too many steps and a little longer process? That is why this is not the best or the primary method to move columns in Excel.

Method # 3: Using the CTRL key

Just like we can move columns using the Shift key, we can use the Control key for the same purpose too😍

There’s only one difference between both methods. When you copy columns using the CTRL key, the copied data is pasted into a new column. But, and that’s a big BUT – the data in the pasted column is replaced.

Didn’t get it? Let’s understand it through an example below.

We are using the same data as earlier, and we want to move Column C using the Control key this time.

  1. Select column C by right-clicking the Column C header.

Selecting column c

  1. Press down the Control key and hover over to the edge of the column until you see a plus sign.
  2. Hold and drag the column to the desired location.
  3. Column C replaces column B and appears right after the first column.

Moving column C in place of column B

What happened here was that when we pressed the Control key, Excel made a copy of column C in place of column B by overwriting column B.

You can now delete column C by clicking delete from the context menu.

Deleting column c.

How to move multiple columns at the same time

Okay, so now you know how to move a column in Excel. But do you know how to move multiple columns simultaneously?

We bet you don’t, and we’re here to teach you just that😎

Let’s say we have this dataset where we want to move columns B and C and bring them before column A.

Column B and C to be moved.

So, how do we do that? Using the Shift key method as we did previously.

  1. Select column C by clicking on the header.

Selecting column C

  1. Press down the Shift key and select the header for column B.

Selecting both columns

  1. Hover over the edge of Column B until the plus sign appears.
  2. Hold and drag the columns and drop them before column A.
  3. The result will look something like this:

Moving columns

Note that this hack works for contiguous columns or contiguous rows only. You cannot use it to move non-contiguous rows and columns in Excel.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

Move columns to other worksheets

Now that we know how to work with columns in a single worksheet, it’s time we see how to move them to another sheet in the same workbook.

There’s a small but common hack for moving columns from one sheet to another. Let’s see it here👀

Using the same example as above, we are moving Column A from Sheet 1 to Sheet 3. To do so:

  1. Create a new sheet from the sheet tab at the bottom by clicking on the + sign shown below.

Adding new sheets

  1. Navigate back to Sheet 1.
  2. Select column A and press CTRL + C if you want to keep a copy of the column in Sheet 1. Otherwise, press CTRL + X to cut the column.

Selecting column A

  1. Go to Sheet 3.
  2. Paste the contents in any column of Sheet 3 by selecting it and pressing CTRL + V.

For example, we’ve pasted it in Column A of Sheet 3 as shown below.

Pasting column A in new sheet

How to move rows in Excel

We now know how to work with columns in Excel. Let’s see a brief overview of moving rows in an Excel spreadsheet too.

Method # 1: Using the Shift key

This one’s easy. Simply select the row you want to move, press shift, and drag it to the new position.

Let’s see an example here:

Moving row 6 to row 2

In the dataset above, the 6th row comes in the wrong order. It should have been in the first position (Row 2).

No worries – let’s move it to the right place. For that:

  1. Select the relevant row number (in our case, row 6).

Selecting entire row

  1. Hover over the edge of the row until the plus sign appears.
  2. Press down the Shift key and drag the entire row to its new location.
  3. The selected row moves up, and the result looks like this:

Moving row 6

You can do the same for multiple rows by selecting them at once and dragging them to the new position.

Method # 2: Using the insert, cut, and paste hack to move rows

You know this one already, don’t you? It’s an easy hack, and you just need to follow the same steps as with columns.

  1. Select the new row where you want the previous row to be moved. In this case, we want to move row 5 above row 9.

Moving row 5 above row 9

  1. Once selected, open the context menu with a right-click.
  2. Select the Insert option to add a single row.

Adding new column

  1. A new blank row appears above the 9th row.

New row inserted

  1. Cut row 5 by selecting it and pressing the Control key + X.

Cut row

  1. Go to Row 9 (the newly inserted blank row).
  2. Paste Column 5 in there by pressing Control + V.

Green border around new row

Now that all the data is organized, we have an empty row (Row 5) in our dataset.

You might want to delete it as follows:

  1. Select row 5 and right-click on it to launch the context menu.
  2. From the context menu, choose the Delete option to delete the subject row.

Deleting empty row

  1. This is what your dataset looks like now:

Final result

Method#3: Using the CTRL Key

You can also rearrange rows using the Control key. The method is identical to how we moved columns using the Control key.

Let’s quickly reiterate it here for moving rows:

  1. Select the row to be moved.
  2. Press and hold down the Control key.
  3. Hover over the row until you see a plus sign.
  4. Drag the row to its new position.
  5. The new row will appear, and the previous row will be replaced.

That’s it – Now what?

In this article, we learned easy hacks to move columns and rows in Excel using Shift, CTRL, and the Insert method🔰

But there is so much more you can do with columns and rows in Excel. And this article doesn’t do justice in covering even 5% of that information.

There are tons of other things to Excel that you’d want to learn. And you can start by practicing with some core Excel functions like the VLOOKUP, IF, and SUMIF functions.

How do I reorder data in a table in Excel?

Under Chart Tools, on the Design tab, in the Data group, click Select Data. In the Select Data Source dialog box, in the Legend Entries (Series) box, click the data series that you want to change the order of. Click the Move Up or Move Down arrows to move the data series to the position that you want.

How do I arrange rows and columns in Excel?

Here's how:.
Select the range of data you want to rearrange, including any row or column labels, and either select Copy. ... .
Select the first cell where you want to paste the data, and on the Home tab, click the arrow next to Paste, and then click Transpose..

How do I reorder multiple columns in Excel?

Hold the Ctrl key and select each of the columns in the order you want them displayed. ... .
Left-click and hold any one of the columns and drag the mouse to the location you want to place the columns..