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Move an entire row or column in Excel without overwriting your data

Move an entire row or column in Excel without displacing your data (2000/2002/2003/2007)

When you’re shuffling around rows or columns of data, you probably do a lot of copying and pasting. This method is fine in many cases, but here’s a quicker alternative.

You can move an entire row or column of data to a new position without replacing the existing data. Just select the row or column by clicking on its header, hold down the [Shift] key, and then hover your cursor over the row or column border until it becomes a four-headed arrow. Click and drag up or down to move the row or column. You’ll see a placeholder to help guide your movements.

15 thoughts on “Move an entire row or column in Excel without overwriting your data

  1. Most Windows options work by using the either the Command or the Function key n MAC Versions. In moving Columns for instance, hold down the COMMAND key until the ‘hand’ symbol appears then move the column ot the desired location and press enter (Return) Worked for me in 2011. Try it. Good lunc.

  2. CORRECTION TO PREVIOUS POST!!! Actually, using the MAC version, first insert a column where you wish to move a column; Then highlight the column you wish to move; Then move the curser to the outer edge of the highlighted column until the ‘outstretched hand’ appears; Click the mouse button and the hand folds like it has ‘grabbed’ the column; While holding down the mouse button move the highlighted column to the newly created column and release. (HINT: If you do not insert a column first, the original column will be overwritten – after accepting the warning message) Hope this helps;

  3. Thanks for the info. I knew how to move cells but didn’t know it also applied to columns and rows. The trick is to hover around one corner of the header cell and find the correct cross icon for moving. While holding down the shift key (for WIN), hover around a corner and stop when a thin cross with four-ended arrow points shows. That’s the move symbol (as opposed to the two thicker icons for selecting and changing widths). Grab the cell when the correct arrow is showing and drag the cell to where you want. This works for cells, too, as well as any groups of cells, columns or rows you select first.

  4. THANK YOU! I rarely have to use Excel (or most of the god-awful Office suite thankfully) and I’d been struggling with this for ages. So unintuitive!
    These simple paragraphs helped me out loads!

  5. Yeah, its really worth knowing this shortcut. The only matter is to ensure that your cursor turn to four headed arrow and then you move to desired column you wish to. A caution would be that do not leave shift button unless you complete the process. All the best guys…!!!!

  6. Sweet! The Microsoft website just had instructions on moving a column and replacing the target column – not what I wanted to do. Thanks a lot for the useful tip!

    I’ve spent so much time in the creating new column, copying, pasting, deleting previous column. This is SWEET.

    Thank you!!!

  8. I just used the above instructions to move a block of columns successfully in MO 2010. Thanks!

  9. Only problem I had was that it replaced a row of data which I then had to retype back in. So this was helpful, but still not quite the time-saver I had hoped for. If I missed something, would love to hear how to not have to re-type stuff!

  10. @Tom Chandler

    THANK YOU, Tom. Every other method was just making a mess of my data, including the official cut/paste method – the hand grab method worked great on my Mac Office 2008 version. You have made my day much easier.

  11. I will add one note…
    I got this to work on my “Protected” sheet. I “unprotected” it and checked a box called “Insert Rows” (which allows users to insert rows) and then protected the sheet again. Now it works.

    Thank you so much for this tip!!

  12. I have Excel 2010. I tried this with data in column D which I wanted to move into column E without disturbing the data in E. However, all it did was to switch the data in E to D and D to E. Am I doing something wrong?

  13. This doesn’t seem to work when I’m trying to move a column to the space after the last column on a sheet.

    Excel 2008 strange behavior: copied and moved a worksheet from one workbook to another. It seemed to copy with formatting. However, I wanted to have the same number of columns on each sheet, so that I didn’t end up with two “orphan” columns on the last page. So, I inserted a page break on page one. But, on the 2nd page, while it used a full sheet for the first page of columns, the second page had only half as many columns, leaving 3 orphan columns on a third page. I’ve played with margins, inserting columns, redoing it, cutting and pasting, unmerging any cells, aligning columns left instead of centering them on the page…all to no avail. Any ideas would be most appreciated!!!

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