Lesson 9 - Excel Insert Command

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Lesson 9 - Inserting Rows, Columns and Cells


When working in Excel, there are times that you may need to insert an entire new row, an entire new column or only a single cell. Although the term Inserting gives the impression that you are actually adding another row, column or cell, you are in fact NOT. You may remember that in the first lesson we mentioned the fact that Excel has 256 columns, 65,536 rows and 1,677,216 cells per worksheet. These numbers are fixed, so technically we cannot add more. What we can do, however, is move a particular row down, column across, cell in. This can seem confusing, so it is probably best that we do a practical example so you can see how it works.

  • In Cell A1 Type Any Data. In Cell A2 Also Type Any Data.
  • Select Cell A2 Right Click, And Select Insert.
  • You will notice that the Insert dialogue box will be displayed giving you four options.
  • Shift Cells Right
  • Shift Cells Down
  • Entire Row
  • Entire Column

For this exercise, lets select Shift Cells Right, then click OK. You will notice that the contents of cell A2 has now been moved to cell B2.

Lets now select cell B2, right click, select Insert and select Shift Cells Down. The contents of cell B2 should now appear in cell B3.

Now select any cell in row 1, right click, select Insert then Entire row, click OK. You should have an entire new empty row for row 1.

Lets now insert an entire column. Select any cell in column B, right click and select Insert, then Entire Column and click OK. You should now have an entire new empty column for column B. When we insert rows, columns or cells in this manner (that is with a single cell selected) Excel will always display the Insert dialogue box, allowing us to make our choice.

The same Insert dialogue box is available by selecting Home menu bar select Insert and then your required option (cells, rows, columns).

We can, however, bypass this dialogue box and insert either an entire row or column by default. To insert an entire row by default, select any row number (the row number on the left in the shaded area) so that the entire row is highlighted. Then right click and select Insert. You will notice that Excel makes an educated guess that you are after an entire row as it is an entire row that you have highlighted. The exact same thing would happen if we had an entire column highlighted, ie; an entire column would be inserted.

If we want to insert more than one cell, row or column at a time, we simply select the appropriate number of rows, cells or columns before using Insert either via the menu option or the right click Shortcut menu. For example, if you select four entire rows, then right clicked and selected Insert, you would be inserting four new empty rows.


Go back to:

Lesson 1 - Excel Fundamentals
Lesson 2 - Starting Excel and Excel Workbooks
Lesson 3 - Excel Toolbars and Task Panes
Lesson 4 - Excel Worksheets
Lesson 5 - Excel Cells and Navigating a Worksheet
Lesson 6 - Excel Cut/Copying and Pasting Data
Lesson 7 - Excel Copying with the Fill Handle
Lesson 8 - Excel Paste Special


See also:

Lesson 10 - Excel's default options
Lesson 11 - Excel's Undo and Redo
Lesson 12 - Excel's Format Painter
Lesson 13 - Excel's Dates and Times
Lesson 14 - Excel's Custom Formats
Lesson 15 - Excel Formulas
Lesson 16 - Excel Cell References
Lesson 17 - Excel: Avoid Typing
Lesson 18 - Excel Formulae Arguments & Syntax
Lesson 19 - Excel Autosum Formula
Lesson 20 - Excel Auto Calculate
Lesson 21 - Excel's Insert Function
Lesson 22 - Excel's Useful Functions
Lesson 23 - Excel's Named Ranges
Lesson 24 - Excel's Constants and the Paste Name Dialog
Lesson 25 - Excel's Calculations
Lesson 26 - Excel Comments Cell
Lesson 27 - Excel Find and Replace
Lesson - 28 - Clear Excel Cell Contents
Lesson 29 - Effective Excel Printing 1
Lesson 30 - Effective Excel Printing 2
Lesson 31 - Sorting in Excel
Lesson 32 - Hide/Show Row/Columns in Excel
Lesson 33 - Auto-Formats in Excel
Lesson 34 - Creating a Basic Excel Spreadsheet
Lesson 35 - Excel Charting Lesson: The Basic Excel Spreadsheet
Lesson 36 - Excel Worksheet Protection
Lesson 37 - Excel IF Formula Nesting
Lesson 38 - Excel Function Now/Today Formulas


See also: Index to Excel VBA Code and Index to Excel Freebies and Lesson 1 - Excel Fundamentals and Index to how to… providing a range of solutions and Index to new resources and reference sheets


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