How to Move Columns in Excel – Swap Columns or Rows in Excel

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In the last post, we discussed how to move rows in Excel, and now we will explain how to move columns in Excel. Microsoft Excel has been the world’s No. 1 tool to handle any kind of analytical query. Empowering Excel skills will make you feel like you are in the seventh sky because if a person knows how to use Excel, he would be considered a genius in his circle.

Coming back to the topic, when you have large datasets, you would have needed to swap columns or even rows in your Excel sheet. To make the data presentable you have to manage it in a better way. You must know how to rearrange and reshape your data by moving columns. So, without further ado,  let’s get started.

How to Move Columns in Excel using Drag and Drop

Simply by dragging the columns you can move them wherever you need to. For a more clear picture, let’s have a look at some simple steps:

move columns with drag

  • Choose the column you need to move and for this, click on the column heading.
  • Now, press and hold the SHIFT key and pick the right or left border of the column.
  • Drop the selected column somewhere else you want. Also, keep in mind that when you drop the column around, you will notice highlighted borders appear on the sheet that clearly shows the column’s position is changed.

Using this method, you can move not only columns but you can move rows as well as cells. You just have to select them, then simply drag, and drop them wherever you want by pressing the SHIFT key.

How to Move Columns in Excel with Cut and Paste

So, here comes another useful method in which you use the cut-and-paste option to move the column to a new position. For this, you just have to cut the data of the selected column and then simply paste it into another new column.

Below are some easy-to-follow steps:

  • Choose the column you need to move.
  • From the keyboard, press CTRL + X, or else you can even right-click the selected column and click on the Cut option.
  • Choose the column in which you need to paste the first column.
  • Press CTRL + P from the keyboard and paste the data of the column. Or else you can right-click the column and choose the Paste option directly from the drop-down menu.

move columns with cut and pasteavif

How to Move Columns with Short Keys

Other than the above-mentioned methods, you can use the short keys as well to move columns in Excel spreadsheet. For this, you need to follow the steps given below:

  • Choose the column you need to move.
  • Press the CTRL + X from the keyboard and for Mac users, you can use Command + X.
  • Now, choose the column in which you want to place the column and press CTRL + V from the keyboard, and for Mac users, Command + V is used.

How to Move Columns in Excel with Data Sort

Some users may find this method a little bit tricky it is just because they already have gone through the easiest methods. Basically, this method is super helpful in situations when you need to move a large spreadsheet containing lots of columns. Using this method, you can easily move multiple columns all at once.

Before applying this method, you need to add a row at the beginning of the sheet to sort the order there. Only then you will be able to use Data Sort to move columns. Let’s find out how to move columns in Excel using the Data Sort trick.

  • Choose the Insert option by right-clicking a cell to add a row on top of the first row.
  • Add the sorting order for the columns in the new row. For instance, suppose you need the first column as the fourth column in the new order, add a 4 in the cell above it.

move columns with data sort

  • Now, select the entire data table.
  • Open the Data menu and choose the Sort option given in the Sort & Filter menu. You will see the Sort window opens up.

move columns with data sort2

  • Click Options from the Sort window.
  • Tick Sort left to the right given under the Orientation menu.
  • Choose OK.
  • Choose Row 1 in the Sort by menu after coming back to the Sort window. You will see the table is sorted by the first row in which the numbers were added.
  • Now, choose Cell Values given in Sort on the menu. You will find the columns are sorted based on the values in the first row.
  • Click on the Smallest to Largest for Order. Column number 1 will be as first, and others will come in the sequence after that.
  • Click Ok and save the changes.
  • You will see the columns are moved successfully to where you want them. All set except the first row that has been added in the first step. Now, let’s remove it.
  • In the first row, right-click on a cell.
  • Choose the Delete option from the menu and you will see a window appears to confirm what part of the sheet you want to delete.
  • Check the Entire row and press Ok.

move columns with data sort3

All done!

Final Thoughts

Now, as you know how to move columns in Excel using multiple methods, it is up to you whether you practice these methods or not. Only practice makes a man perfect that’s why you need to put effort to polish your skills.

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