Powerful shortcuts to change the structure of your worksheet

Written by Peter Albert on . Posted in Shortcuts, Starter

Executive Summary

6 shortcuts will allow you to insert, delete, move, and copy rows or columns with easy. Applying them will make you look like an Excel-pro to your team and client, even if you just started!

Quick reference

Shortcut Functionality
CtrlSpace Select column
ShiftSpace Select row
Ctrlarrow keys Extend selection (to multiple rows/columns)
Ctrl+ Insert
Ctrl- Delete
CtrlX Cut (use together with Ctrl+ to move to new location)

Detailed explanation

  1. Select: Use CtrlSpace to select the current column – or ShiftSpace for the current row.
  2. Extend (optional): Press Shift and use the arrow keys to extend the selection. E.g. if you want to insert 5 blank columns, extend your selection to 5 columns.
  3. Action: You can now:
    • Insert rows/columns with Ctrl+
    • Delete rows/columns with Ctrl-
    • Copy rows/columns with CtrlC
    • Cut rows/columns with CtrlX

If you copied rows/columns, you can insert a copy at another column/row by selecting the target row/column and press Ctrl+. Also, if you select a multiple of the original number of copied rows/columns, Excel will fill all of them with copies of the original.

Similarly, if you cut columns/rows, Ctrl+ will move them to the new selection.

Don’t useCtrl+ to a while column/row after copying only one cell! Excel will fill the whole row or column (i.e. up to 1M cells per column!) with the copied cell!

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Peter Albert

Worked 5 years as Consultant and Project Manager at McKinsey & Company and Bain & Company. Now builds Excel, other models and web applications for consultancies and other clients - and provides Excel training to consultants at all skill levels.

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