In this guide, you’ll learn every tip you need to know about Excel rows and columns. including how to delete or insert new rows and columns, how to adjust column widths and row heights, and how to hide rows and columns in Excel.

It will save you lots of time and open your eyes to lots of excel hidden gems.

The main reason why Excel differ from Word is because of this rows and columns.

While word lets you create and edit documents, Excel focus on letting you create, edit, and analyze data that s organized into rows and columns.

What are rows and columns in Excel?

Rows are a series of cells that runs horizontally through a worksheet. Rows can be identified using the row numbers at the left side of the sheet. For example, the first row in Excel is row 1, followed by row 2, and so on.

Columns, on the other hand, are cells that run vertically through the sheet. Each column in Excel can be identified by a column header at the top of the sheet. For example, the first column is called column A, followed by column B, and so on.

Excel Rows vs Columns

Rows Columns
Rows runs horizontally Columns runs vertically
Rows are identified by numbers (e.g. 1, 2, 3 etc.) Columns are identified by letters (e.g. A, B, C etc.)
You can go to the last row by pressing CTRL Down hotkeys. You can go to the last column by pressing CTRL Right hotkeys.

How many rows and columns has Excel?

Every Excel worksheet contain exactly 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns. These values cannot be changed.

If you have a workbook that was created in a version of Excel older than Excel 2007, it can be opened in Compatibility Mode. It has 65,536 rows and 256 columns. However, you can increase the number of rows and columns of this type of worksheet, by saving the workbook as an Excel file (.xlsx or .xlsm) and then reopen it.

How to highlight entire row or column

To highlight an entire row, just click on the row number at the left side of the worksheet.

See screenshot:

The same way, to highlight an entire column, just click on the column letter at the top of the worksheet.

Inserting new rows and columns in Excel

Even though the number of Excel rows and columns is fixed, you can still insert new rows and columns to make room for additional information. However, these operations don’t change the number of rows or column in Excel. Rather, inserting new rows shift down the other rows, and inserting new columns shift the other columns to the right.

NOTE: You can only insert new rows and columns on condition that the last row and column doesn’t contain any data. In either case, attempting to add a row or column will fail with the following dialog box.

To insert a new row:

  • Identify the row where you want to insert the new row. Thus, if you want to insert a new row at row 7, then row 7 should be your target.
  • Click the row number to select the entire row.
  • Right-click and select Insert from the shortcut menu. Excel will insert a row above the selected row. (See screenshot)

Alternatively:

  • Click any cell in the row that you want to insert.
  • Choose Home → Cells → Insert → Insert Sheet Rows.

To insert multiple rows:

  • Select the number of rows you wish to insert. For instance, if you want to insert three rows after row 2, you’ll have to select row 3, 4 and 5 altogether.
  • Next, right-click the row headings of the highlighted rows and select Insert from the shortcut menu.
how to insert multiple rows in excel

Excel will insert the multiple rows based on the number of rows you select. However, all the selected rows will be pushed down when those new rows are inserted. Thus, the old row 3 will become row 4, and the old row 4 will become row 5, and so on.

To insert a new column:

  • Identify the column where you want to insert the new column. Thus, if you want to insert a new column at column G, then column G should be your target.
  • Click the column letter to select the entire column.
  • Right-click and select Insert from the shortcut menu. Excel will insert a new column to the left of the selected column. (See screenshot)

Alternatively:

  • Click any cell in the column that you want to insert.
  • Choose Home → Cells → Insert → Insert Sheet columns.

To insert multiple Columns:

  • Select the number of columns you wish to insert. For instance, if you want to insert three columns after column E, you’ll have to select from column F to H altogether.
  • Next, right-click the column headings of the selected columns and select Insert from the shortcut menu.

Excel will insert the multiple columns based on the number of columns you select. However, all the selected columns will be pushed to the right when the new columns are inserted. Thus, the old column F will become column G, and the old column G will become column H, and so on.

Deleting rows and columns in Excel

Just like inserting rows and columns, deleting them don’t change the number of rows or column in Excel. Rather, deleting rows shift up the other rows, and deleting columns shift the other columns to the left.

To delete columns:

  • Select the column (or columns) you want to delete. In this example, we’ll delete column G.
  • Click the column letter to select the entire column.
  • Right-click and select Delete from the shortcut menu. Excel will delete the selected column and the column to the right will shift left. (See screenshot)

To delete rows:

  • Select the row you want to delete. In this example, we’ll delete column G.
  • Click the column letter to select the entire column.
  • Right-click and select Delete from the shortcut menu. Excel will delete the selected column and the column to the right will shift left. (See screenshot)

Excel row and column size

If you are working with Excel, you’ll often want to adjust your row heights and column widths. For example, you can narrow columns to show more information on a page when printed.

There are several ways in Excel to change the heights of rows and the widths of columns.

How to change column width in Excel

  • In the column heading, click and drag the column border with the mouse. Drag left to reduce the width, and right to expand up to your desired width.

Alternatively:

  • Using AutoFit, you can automatically adjust the column width to the length of the data in that column. To do that, in the column headers, double-click the right border of the column to set the column width automatically.

How to change row height in Excel

  • In the row heading, click and drag the row border with the mouse. Drag upward to reduce or downwards to expand up to the desired height.

Alternatively:

  • Using AutoFit, you can automatically adjust the row height to the tallest entry in the row. To do that, in the row heading at the left side of the sheet, double-click the bottom border of the row to set the row height automatically.

Hiding rows and columns

During your journey with Excel, there are some cases you may want to hide certain rows or columns. This is particularly useful if you don’t want your spreadsheet users to see particular information or if you need to print a report without showing all the details.

To hide a row or rows in Excel:

  • Select the row or rows you want to hide. To select a row, click the row header on the left. If you want to hide several rows, press down the Ctrl key whilst clicking the row headers you want to hide, one after the other.
  • Then right-click to display the shortcut menu, and select hide from the list.

To hide a column or columns in Excel:

  • Select the column or columns you want to hide. To select a column, click the column header at the top of the sheet. If you want to hide several columns, press down the Ctrl key whilst clicking the row headers you want to hide, one after the other.
  • Then right-click to display the shortcut menu, and select hide from the list.

Excel hide rows and columns by setting the row height to zero. When you use the navigation keys to move to a cell in a hidden row, it skips.

However, take note that Excel shows a narrow column heading for hidden rows and columns. You can right-click that narrow column heading to unhide any hidden row or column. You can also click and drag the column or row heading wider – and make it visible again.