How to Insert a Row or Column in an Excel Spreadsheet

By Carol Finch

Learn how to insert single or multiple rows and columns in Excel using a keyboard shortcut, an Insert command or the Cell Context menu.

Things You'll Need

  • Excel Book
  • Microsoft Excel

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.


  • If you don't have a number keypad, hold down both the Ctrl and Shift keys and press the + key on the keyboard.

  • You can also use a Control command to delete rows or columns. In this case, select the row or column you want to delete (not an adjacent one). Press Ctrl and then the - key on the 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.

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.

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.

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.

The new column appears, and the column letters reorder.


  • To insert multiple rows or columns, select the same number of rows or columns as the number you want to add. For example, to insert two new rows, select the two rows above which the new ones should appear; to insert two new columns, select the two columns to the right of the columns you want to add.
  • To insert multiple nonadjacent rows or columns, you have to tell Excel that you'll be highlighting different areas of the worksheet. Select your first row or column. To add other rows or columns in other locations, hold down the Ctrl key and select them.
  • To delete rows or columns, select them and use the Delete button on the Home tab.


Make sure to select the entire row or column before you insert a new one. If you don't, Excel may insert cells rather than a whole row or column.

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.

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.


If you're using default formatting, any new row has the same formatting as the row above; a new column has the same formatting as the column to its left. If you aren't using default formatting or have different formats in the rows or columns on either side of the one you insert, you see an Insert Options button. This button allows you to clear formatting or to make it the same as adjacent rows or columns.