How to Reorder Columns in Excel: A Comprehensive Guide

  • Home
  • / How to Reorder Columns in Excel: A Comprehensive Guide

Enter the art of reordering columns in Excel, a simple yet powerful technique that empowers you to sculpt your data into a coherent and efficient structure. Whether you’re a novice seeking to streamline your spreadsheets or a seasoned Excel wizard aiming to master advanced data management, the ability to understand how to reorder columns in Excel is a fundamental skill that can unlock a world of possibilities.

Join us on a journey through the labyrinth of cells and headers as we unravel the secrets of arranging your data with delicacy.

Why Reorder Columns in Excel?

Before diving into the methods, let’s briefly discuss why you might want to reorder columns in Excel. Here are some common scenarios where this task is essential:

  • Data Organization: Reordering columns can help you arrange data in a more logical or meaningful way, making it easier to understand and work with.
  • Data Presentation: When preparing reports or presentations, you may need to rearrange columns to display the most relevant information first.
  • Calculations and Formulas: Certain calculations or functions may require data in a specific order. Reordering columns can simplify these processes.
  • Importing and Exporting Data: When importing or exporting data from different sources, column orders may not match. Reordering is necessary to align the data correctly.
  • Data Cleanup: Reordering can be part of a data cleaning process, helping you identify and correct inconsistencies or errors.

Basic Methods for Reordering Columns

Let’s start with the most straightforward methods for reordering columns in Excel. These techniques don’t require any advanced knowledge of Excel functions or formulas and are suitable for beginners.

1. Drag-and-Drop

  • Click on the column header you want to move (e.g., click on “B” for Column B).
  • Hold the left mouse button and drag the column to the desired location.
  • Release the mouse button to drop the column in its new position.

2. Cut and Paste

  • Select the column you want to move.
  • Right-click on the selected column and choose “Cut” from the context menu.
  • Click on the column header where you want to insert the cut column.
  • Right-click on the new location and choose “Insert Cut Cells.”

3. Insert and Delete

  • Select the column you want to move.
  • Right-click on the selected column and choose “Insert” from the context menu. This inserts a new column to the left.
  • Right-click on the newly inserted column and choose “Delete.” This will remove the original column, effectively moving it.

Advanced Methods for Reordering Columns

For more advanced users or cases where you need to reorder columns automatically based on specific criteria, Excel provides several powerful methods, such as formulas and macros. These methods can save you a significant amount of time when working with large datasets.

1. Using the INDEX and MATCH Functions

The combination of the INDEX and MATCH functions allows you to create dynamic column reordering. This method is particularly useful when you want to sort columns based on a specific criterion.

  1. Suppose you have data in columns A to D, and you want to reorder them based on a category in column C.
  2. In a new location (e.g., columns E to H), you can use the following formula in cell E2 and copy it across:

=INDEX($A$1:$D$1, , MATCH(E$1, $C$1:$C$1, 0))

  • $A$1:$D$1 is the range of the original data headers.
  • E$1 refers to the header in the destination column (E1, F1, G1, H1).
  • $C$1:$C$1 is the range containing the categories.
  1. Drag the formula across the destination columns (E2 to H2) to reorder the data based on the category in column C.

VBA Macros

VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) is a powerful scripting language integrated into Excel. With VBA macros, you can automate complex tasks, including reordering columns based on custom rules. Here’s a basic example of a VBA macro to reorder columns:

  1. Press Alt + F11 to open the VBA editor.
  2. Insert a new module by clicking “Insert” -> “Module.”
  3. Copy and paste the following VBA code into the module:


Sub ReorderColumns()

    Dim SourceRange As Range

    Dim DestinationRange As Range


    ‘ Define the source and destination ranges

    Set SourceRange = Worksheets(“Sheet1”).Range(“A1:D1”)

    Set DestinationRange = Worksheets(“Sheet1”).Range(“E1:H1”)


    ‘ Loop through the destination columns

    For i = 1 To DestinationRange.Columns.Count

        ‘ Find the corresponding source column header

        ColumnHeader = DestinationRange.Cells(1, i).Value

        Set SourceCell = SourceRange.Find(What:=ColumnHeader, LookIn:=xlValues)

        If Not SourceCell Is Nothing Then

            ‘ Copy the entire column

            SourceCell.EntireColumn.Copy DestinationRange.Cells(1, i)

        End If

    Next i

End Sub


  • Modify the SourceRange and DestinationRange to specify the ranges you want to reorder.
  1. Close the VBA editor and run the macro by pressing Alt + F8, selecting “ReorderColumns,” and clicking “Run.”

This VBA macro loops through the destination columns and finds the corresponding columns in the source range, copying them to the destination range. You can adapt this code to your specific needs, making it a versatile solution for advanced column reordering tasks.


Reordering columns in Excel is a common and essential task that can help you better manage, analyze, and present your data. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced Excel user, there are various methods available to reorder columns, from basic drag-and-drop techniques to more advanced approaches using formulas and VBA macros.

So, you are now familiar with how to reorder columns in Excel by using the above-mentioned methods. Keep trying these methods and continue enhancing your skills.

Write your comment Here