How to Add, Hide, Freeze, or Remove Columns in Sheets

Customize your spreadsheet to easily manage large amounts of data

Spreadsheets are made up of columns and rows, and to use them effectively it’s important to know how to change them to incorporate the information you want to track or the data you want to manipulate. If you’re using Sheets, making changes to the columns you’re using is easy. Here’s how it’s done:

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How to Add Columns in Sheets

Say you’re working with some data and you see that an additional layer of information would be useful. You can add a new column to accommodate it. 

  1. Open Sheets as you normally would, and open the spreadsheet you want to add columns to. 

    A spreadsheet in Google Sheets.
  2. Decide where you want your column and hover over the letter at the top of one of the columns next to it. For example, here we want to add a column in between D and E, so we hover over E

    Hovering mouse over column E in Sheets.
  3. Select the arrow that appears to bring up a menu. 

    Google Sheets is showing a menu with column options.
  4. Select Insert 1 left or Insert 1 right, depending on where you want to place your new column. 

    Selecting to insert a column in Sheets.
  5. The new column will appear, and you can populate it with your data. 

    Google Sheets is showing a spreadsheet with a new column added.

    To add more than one column, decide where you want the columns and select the same number of columns next to them. Click the menu arrow at the top of one of the columns, and select Insert X left or Insert X right (X will be the number of columns you selected). 

  6. The new column and data become part of your spreadsheet.

How to Remove Columns in Google Sheets

Let’s say the new column isn’t working out and you want to remove it. 

  1. Open Google Sheets as you normally would, and open the spreadsheet you want to remove a column from. 

    A spreadsheet in Google Sheets.
  2. Hover over the letter at the top of the column you want to remove. Here we want to remove Column E, so we hover over E

    Hovering over a column in Sheets.
  3. Select the arrow that appears to bring up a menu. 

    Selecting the arrow to open up a context menu in Sheets.
  4. Select Delete column. The column will disappear. 

    To delete more than one column at a time, select the columns you want to delete, click the menu arrow, and select Delete columns X-Y (X and Y will be the first and last columns you highlighted). 

    Selecting to delete a column in Sheets.
  5. The two columns on either side of the deleted column will now be next to each other.

    A spreadsheet with a newly deleted column.

How to Hide Columns in Google Sheets

Instead of removing a column permanently, maybe you want to look at your data without that column just temporarily. In this case, you can hide the column. 

  1. Open Google Sheets as you normally would, and open the spreadsheet you want to hide a column in. 

    A spreadsheet in Google Sheets.
  2. Hover over the letter at the top of the column you want to hide. Here we want to hide Column E, so we hover over E

    Hovering mouse over column E in Sheets.
  3. Click the arrow that appears to bring up a menu. 

    Google Sheets is showing a menu with column options.
  4. Select Hide column. The column will disappear.

    Selecting to hide a column in Sheets.
  5. You’ll see arrows in the columns on either side to indicate there’s a hidden column there. To unhide the column, click one of the arrows

    A hidden column noted by arrows.

How to Freeze Columns in Google Sheets

In a spreadsheet, it’s common to use the first column for identifiers of the information in subsequent columns. In our example, the first column (Column A) identifies cookie flavors, and the numbers in the rows next to their name represent their sales figures for each year. If you have a large number of columns, you might want to view those not currently in your screen while still keeping the first column open so you can still see the identifier. The method to use is called freezing. Here’s how to freeze columns. 

  1. Open Google Sheets as you normally would, and open the spreadsheet you want to freeze a column in. 

    Another spreadsheet in Sheets.
  2. At the top of the screen, choose View and hover over Freeze

    Google Sheets is showing a spreadsheet populated with data.
  3. Select the number of columns you want to freeze. In this example, we’ll just freeze one column. 

    Selecting one column to freeze.
  4. You’ll see a gray bar appear between the frozen and unfrozen columns. That means you can view the information in unfrozen columns without the frozen columns moving. 

    Google Sheets is showing a spreadsheet with the initial column frozen.
  5. To unfreeze, select View > Freeze > No columns

    Unfreezing a column in Sheets.