How to Add and Delete Rows and Columns in Excel

Image of a person reviewing a spreadsheet in Excel

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As in all Microsoft programs, there is more than one way of accomplishing a task. These instructions cover how to add and delete rows and columns in an Excel worksheet by using a keyboard shortcut and by using the right-click context menu.

Note: The information in this article applies to Excel versions 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, Excel Online, and Excel for Mac.

Add Rows To an Excel Worksheet

A screenshot showing how to add rows to an Excel worksheet

When columns and rows containing data are deleted, the data is deleted as well. These losses also affect formulas and charts that reference the data in the deleted columns and rows.

If you accidentally delete columns or rows containing data, use the undo feature on the ribbon to get your data back.

Add Rows Using Shortcut Keys

The keyboard key combination used to add rows to a worksheet is:

Ctrl + Shift + " + " (plus sign)

Note: If you have a keyboard with a Number Pad to the right of the regular keyboard, use the + sign there without the Shift key. The key combination is:

Ctrl + " + " (plus sign)

Before adding a row, tell Excel where you want the new one to be inserted by selecting its neighbor. This can also be done using a keyboard shortcut:

 Shift + Spacebar

Excel inserts the new row above the row selected.

To Add a Single Row using a Keyboard Shortcut

  1. Select a cell in the row where you want the new row added.
  2. Press and hold the Shift key on the keyboard
  3. Press the Spacebar without releasing the Shift key.
  4. The entire row is highlighted.
  5. Press and hold the Ctrl and Shift keys on the keyboard.
  6. Press the " + " key without releasing the Ctrl and Shift keys.
  7. A new row is added above the selected row.

To Add Multiple Adjacent Rows using a Keyboard Shortcut

Tell Excel how many new adjacent rows you want to add to the worksheet by selecting the same number of existing rows. If you want to insert two new rows, select two existing rows where you want the new ones to be located. If you want three new rows, select three existing rows.

To Add Three New Rows to a Worksheet

  1. Select a cell in the row where you want the new rows added.
  2. Press and hold the Shift key.
  3. Press the Spacebar without releasing the Shift key.
  4. The entire row is highlighted.
  5. Continue to hold the Shift key.
  6. Press the Up arrow key twice to select two additional rows.
  7. Press and hold the Ctrl and Shift keys.
  8. Press the " + " key without releasing the Ctrl and Shift keys.
  9. Three new rows are added above the selected rows.

Add Rows Using the Context Menu

The option in the context menu (also referred to as the right-click menu) that adds rows to a worksheet is Insert.

As with the keyboard method above, before adding a row, tell Excel where you want the new one to be inserted by selecting its neighbor.

The easiest way to add rows using the context menu is to select the entire row by selecting the row header.

To Add a Single Row to a Worksheet

  1. Select the row header of a row where you want the new row added. The entire row is highlighted.
  2. Right-click on the selected row to open the context menu.
  3. Choose Insert from the menu.
  4. A new row is added above the selected row.

To Add Multiple Adjacent Rows

Tell Excel how many new rows you want to add to the worksheet by selecting the same number of existing rows.

To Add Three New Rows to a Worksheet

  1. In the row header, drag with the mouse pointer to highlight three rows where you want the new rows added.
  2. Right-click on the selected rows.
  3. Choose Insert from the menu.
  4. Three new rows are added above the selected rows.

Delete Rows in an Excel Worksheet

A screenshot showing how to delete a row in Excel

The keyboard key combination to delete rows from a worksheet is:

 Ctrl + " - " (minus sign)

The easiest way to delete a row is to select the entire row to be deleted. This can also be done using a keyboard shortcut:

Shift + Spacebar

To Delete a Single Row using a Keyboard Shortcut

  1. Select a cell in the row to be deleted.
  2. Press and hold the Shift key.
  3. Press the Spacebar without releasing the Shift key.
  4. The entire row is highlighted.
  5. Release the Shift key.
  6. Press and hold the Ctrl key.
  7. Press the " - " key without releasing the Ctrl key.
  8. The selected row is deleted.

To Delete Adjacent Rows using a Keyboard Shortcut

Selecting adjacent rows in a worksheet allows you to delete them all at once. Selecting adjacent rows can be done using the arrow keys on the keyboard after the first row is selected.

To Delete Three Rows from a Worksheet

  1. Select a cell in a row at the bottom end of the group of rows to be deleted.
  2. Press and hold the Shift key.
  3. Press the Spacebar without releasing the Shift key.
  4. The entire row is highlighted.
  5. Continue to hold the Shift key.
  6. Press the Up arrow key twice to select two additional rows.
  7. Release the Shift key.
  8. Press and hold the Ctrl key.
  9. Press the " - " key without releasing the Ctrl key.
  10. The three selected rows are deleted.

Delete Rows Using the Context Menu

The option in the context menu (or right-click menu) that is used to delete rows from a worksheet is Delete.

The easiest way to delete rows using the context menu is to highlight the entire row by selecting the row header.

To Delete a Single Row to a Worksheet

  1. Select the row header of the row to be deleted.
  2. Right-click on the selected row to open the context menu.
  3. Choose Delete from the menu.
  4. The selected row is deleted.

To Delete Multiple Adjacent Rows

Again, multiple adjacent rows can be deleted at the same time if they are all selected

To Delete Three Rows from a Worksheet

In the row header, drag with the mouse pointer to highlight three adjacent rows.

  1. Right-click on the selected rows.
  2. Choose Delete from the menu.
  3. The three selected rows are deleted.

To Delete Separate Rows

Separate, or non-adjacent, rows can be deleted at the same time by first selecting them with the Ctrl key and mouse.

To Select Separate Rows

  1. Select the row header of the first row to be deleted.
  2. Press and hold the Ctrl key.
  3. Select additional rows in the row header to highlight them.
  4. Right-click on the selected rows.
  5. Choose Delete from the menu.
  6. The selected rows are deleted.

Add Columns to an Excel Worksheet

A screenshot showing how to add columns to an Excel worksheet

The keyboard key combination to add columns to a worksheet is the same as for adding rows:

 Ctrl + Shift + " + " (plus sign)

Note: If you have a keyboard with a Number Pad to the right of the regular keyboard, use the + sign there without the Shift key. The key combination becomes Ctrl++.

Before adding a column, tell Excel where you want the new one to be inserted by selecting its neighbor. This can also be done using a keyboard shortcut:

Ctrl + Spacebar

Excel inserts the new column to the left of the column selected.

To Add a Single Column using a Keyboard Shortcut

  1. Select a cell in the column where you want the new column added.
  2. Press and hold the Ctrl key.
  3. Press the Spacebar without releasing the Ctrl key.
  4. The entire column is highlighted.
  5. Press and hold the Ctrl and Shift keys.
  6. Press and release the " + " without releasing the Ctrl and Shift keys.
  7. A new column is added to the left of the selected column.

To Add Multiple Adjacent Columns using a Keyboard Shortcut

Tell Excel how many new adjacent columns you want to add to the worksheet by selecting the same number of existing columns.

If you want to insert two new columns, select two existing columns where you want the new ones to be located. If you want three new columns, select three existing columns.

To Add Three New Columns to a Worksheet

  1. Select a cell in the column where you want the new columns added.
  2. Press and hold the Ctrl key.
  3. Press the Spacebar without releasing the Ctrl key.
  4. The entire column is highlighted.
  5. Release the Ctrl key.
  6. Press and hold the Shift key.
  7. Press the Right arrow key twice to select two additional columns.
  8. Press and hold the Ctrl and Shift keys on the keyboard.
  9. Press the " + " without releasing the Ctrl and Shift keys.
  10. Three new columns are added to the left the selected columns.

Add Columns Using the Context Menu

The option in the context menu that is used to add columns to a worksheet is Insert.

Before adding a column, tell Excel where you want the new one to be inserted by selecting its neighbor.

The easiest way to add columns using the context menu is to highlight the entire column by selecting the column header.

To Add a Single Column to a Worksheet

  1. Select the column header of a column where you want the new column added. The entire column is highlighted.
  2. Right-click on the selected column to open the context menu.
  3. Choose Insert from the menu.
  4. A new column is added to the left of the selected column.

To Add Multiple Adjacent Columns

Again as with rows, tell Excel how many new columns you want to add to the worksheet by selecting the same number of existing columns.

To Add Three New Columns to a Worksheet

  1. In the column header, drag with the mouse pointer to highlight three columns where you want the new columns added.
  2. Right-click on the selected columns.
  3. Choose Insert from the menu.
  4. Three new columns are added to the left of the selected columns.

Delete Columns from an Excel Worksheet

A screenshot showing how to delete a column in an Excel workbook

The keyboard key combination used to delete columns from a worksheet is:

 Ctrl + " - " (minus sign)

The easiest way to delete a column is to select the entire column to be deleted. This can also be done using a keyboard shortcut:

Ctrl + Spacebar

To Delete a Single Column using a Keyboard Shortcut

  1. Select a cell in the column to be deleted.
  2. Press and hold the Ctrl key.
  3. Press the Spacebar without releasing the Shift key.
  4. The entire column is highlighted.
  5. Continue to hold the Ctrl key.
  6. Press and release the " - " key without releasing the Ctrl key.
  7. The selected column is deleted.

To Delete Adjacent Columns using a Keyboard Shortcut

Selecting adjacent columns in a worksheet allows you to delete them all at once. Selecting adjacent columns can be done using the arrow keys on the keyboard after the first column is selected.

To Delete Three Columns from a Worksheet

  1. Select a cell in a column at the bottom end of the group of columns to be deleted.
  2. Press and hold the Shift key.
  3. Press the Spacebar without releasing the Shift key.
  4. The entire column is highlighted.
  5. Continue to hold the Shift key.
  6. Press the Up arrow keyboard twice to select two additional columns.
  7. Release the Shift key.
  8. Press and hold the Ctrl key.
  9. Press and release the " - " key without releasing the Ctrl key.
  10. The three selected columns are deleted.

Delete Columns Using the Context Menu

The option in the context menu that is used to delete columns from a worksheet is Delete.

The easiest way to delete columns using the context menu is to highlight the entire column by selecting the column header.

To Delete a Single Column to a Worksheet

  1. Select the column header of the column to be deleted.
  2. Right-click on the selected column to open the context menu.
  3. Choose Delete from the menu.
  4. The selected column is deleted.

To Delete Multiple Adjacent Columns

Multiple adjacent columns can be deleted at the same time if they are all selected.

To Delete Three Columns from a Worksheet

  1. In the column header, drag with the mouse pointer to highlight three adjacent columns.
  2. Right-click on the selected columns.
  3. Choose Delete from the menu.
  4. The three selected columns are deleted.

To Delete Separate Columns

Separate, or non-adjacent, columns can be deleted at the same time by first selecting them with the Ctrl key and mouse.

To Select Separate Columns

  1. Select the column header of the first column to be deleted.
  2. Press and hold the Ctrl key.
  3. Select additional rows in the column header to highlight them.
  4. Right-click on the selected columns.
  5. Choose Delete from the menu.
  6. The selected columns are deleted.