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Basic Excel Training: Inserting New Columns

Among the most frequently used functions in Excel, inserting new columns and rows is an essential aspect of creating professional spreadsheets. You are able to add columns where needed and copy the formatting already integrated. This Excel tutorial is going to teach you exactly how to insert columns in the correct location.

There are three easy ways to add columns to a spreadsheet and we will explain them below, but first you need to highlight as many columns as you require. The trick is to begin at the point where they must be inserted. Excel automatically adds columns in front of the first selected cell in the highlighted group:

In the above example, May and June are missing from the sequence and need to be added. The orange color represents the columns that are highlighted and the red arrow points to where new ones need to be inserted. So the highlighting process begins where the columns need to go. Now you can hold down on the mouse and select the number of columns required.

  • Inserting via Column

    You can highlight the actual columns at the top of your spreadsheet by clicking on one and dragging your mouse across the others while continuously pressing the button down. Once this is done, simply right-click one any of the selected columns and choose Insert… from the window that appears. Excel will instantly add the chosen number of columns:

  • Insert Dialog Box

    You do not have to highlight the actual columns to be able to insert new ones. You can work in the cells as well. Obviously you will need to select the required number of cells horizontally. Then right-click in the highlighted section to access your shortcut menu:

    Click on Insert… and your Insert dialog box will pop up. Choose the Entire Column option and click on OK at the bottom. Your new columns will immediately be added where instructed.

  • Insert Drop-down Menu

    On the Home tab of your Excel toolbar; you will find a box named Cells that includes icons called Insert, Delete and Format. Each of them has a little arrow underneath but you will need to click on the one beneath Insert. The drop-down menu will offer options to insert cells, rows, columns or sheets. Click on Insert Sheet Columns and your new columns will immediately materialize in your spreadsheet.

Every time you insert a new column, you will see a little icon in the bottom right-hand corner. This looks like a paintbrush and gives you options to choose the formatting you wish to use. Excel always copies column formatting from the left; but you can use the same formulas as the column on the right if you desire. The Clear Formatting option will remove all formatting from your new columns:

Now that you are able to easily insert columns where they are required as you need them, you will be able to maintain your spreadsheets with ease. New data fields can be added and entire columns can be deleted as well. The biggest advantage is that you will not need to restructure formulas as Excel will include them into the new columns, and you do not have to cut and paste information to make space for new data.

This article was written for you after many of our Excel training course students in the South Florida area recommended it. There are many tools that can be used to create professional spreadsheets that work perfectly. Watch our Excel video tutorials to discover more features and learn Excel easily.

Hector Garcia CPA and QuickBooks/Excel Trainer

Hector Garcia CPA and QuickBooks/Excel Trainer

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