How to Move a Column in Excel

Updated on: December 31, 2022

Organizing or rearranging data will always be necessary when working with a lot of information. That’s why learning how to move a column in Excel is essential. Let’s begin!

How to move a column

The columns are vertical fields in Excel Spreadsheet sorted from left to right by alphabet letters. You can move them one by one or a couple of them at a time; for that, you have three (3) standard methods by which you can perform this operation in Excel

Cut and paste

This technique is commonly used because it works with the main commands that most people already know (Ctrl + C to copy, Ctrl + x to cut, and Ctrl + V to paste). You only need to:

  1. Select the column header you want to move. You’ll get a tiny black arrow pointing down when you click on the letter you select.
  2. Right-click to bring up the contextual menu, pick the “Cut” option, or use the shortcut by hitting Ctrl + X to cut the column.
  3. Click on the column letter of the new position where you want to paste the selected one.
  4. Right-click and select “Insert Cut Cells” from the contextual menu, or press Ctrl + V to paste it.

Note: This method also works if you only want to move some data in a column.

Drag and Drop

This method can be advantageous if you have a lot of columns full of information and you don’t want to create a new one or delete anything; you only need to follow the steps below:

  1. Select the entire column by clicking on the column letter you need.
  2. Next, hold down the Shift key while hovering over the vertical edge of the highlighted column.

Note: you’ll get a four-directional arrow once you get close to any side edges.

  1. While the Shift key is active, click to drag the selected column and move to the right or to the left to choose the new position.

Note: If you don’t hold down the Shift Key, you will be overwriting instead of inserting data

  1. Depending on your chosen direction, a vertical green line will appear on the right or left to show where the column will be placed.
  2. Release the Shift key and the mouse to confirm the new position.

Sort horizontally

In case of rearranging several columns quickly, this method can be handy, but it requires sorting rows too (remember that rows are sorted at the right-hand of the Excel Sheet from top to bottom by numbers):

  1. Click on the row number you want to select.

Note: The little black arrow will point to the right for rows.

  1. Right-click to bring up a contextual menu and pick the “insert” option. Once there, you will get a blank row just above.
  2. Now, number the columns in the order you want them to appear on the empty cells.
  3. Select the whole data, including the numbered row
  4. Go to Data, click on “Custom Sort,” pick Option, choose “Sort left to right,” and confirm the operation by hitting “OK” in the pop-up menu.
  5. Set the option to “sort Row 1” as “smallest to largest” order and confirm by pressing “OK.”

Finally, you can use these three methods also for rearranging data in Excel, or you can simply select the letter column or the number row, pick the “insert” option from the contextual menu when right-clicking, and copy and paste the information you need.

Anyway, all of this will depend on what you need to do. Are you ready to put this into practice? Well, good luck!

Lorena M. Rodas leverages her experience across film, writing, and production to make complex tech concepts accessible through storytelling. With a background spanning sci-fi, AI, and emerging tech, Lorena translates her depth of knowledge into engaging, educational content. She is an expert at decoding high-level topics to reach broad audiences.
Access 4,242+ video lessons. Instantly.
Start Learning Now →