How to Insert a Row or Column in an Excel Spreadsheet

Excel provides a couple of ways to insert rows and columns, including keyboard shortcuts and Insert commands. Before you add a new row or column, it's important to understand where Excel positions these insertions, as this affects the row or column you select to place a new one. For example:

  • A new row always inserts above the row you select.
  • A new column always inserts to the left of the column you select.

Use a Keyboard Command

Excel has a keyboard command that allows you to add a row or column to a worksheet. Select the number at the beginning of the row or the letter of the top of the column to highlight it. Hold down the Ctrl key and press the + key on the number keypad.

Use the Insert Button

Add a Row

Select the number of the row in the worksheet that appears above where you'll insert the new row. This highlights the entire row.

Select the row number to highlight all the row.
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Open the Home tab and select the Insert button in the Cells area. Or, select the arrow on the Insert button and select Insert Sheet Rows.

Select the Insert button to add a row.
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The new row inserts, and the row numbers reorder.

Add a Column

Select the letter of the column to the right of the position where you will insert the new column. This highlights the entire column.

Select the column's letter to highlight the whole column.
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On the Home tab, select the Insert button. Or, select the arrow on the Insert button and use Insert Sheet Columns.

Select Insert to add a new column.
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The new column appears, and the column letters reorder.

Add a Row or Column From a Cell

Excel also allows you to insert a row or column from a cell in the worksheet. Select the cell above where you want the new row to go, or any cell in the column to the right of a new column's location. Right-click the cell to open the Cell Context Menu. Select Insert.

Select Insert to open a row or column insert function.
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Check the Entire Row or Entire Column button and select OK to add the new row or column.

Select Entire Row or Column to add a row or column to the worksheet.
credit: Image courtesy Microsoft