Excel, the widely-used spreadsheet software, offers various powerful features to manipulate and organize data effectively. One essential skill every Excel user should possess is the ability to move columns effortlessly. In this guide, we will walk you through different methods to move columns in Excel, enabling you to rearrange your data with ease.

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Understanding the Importance of Moving Columns

When working with large datasets or analyzing specific data points, moving columns becomes crucial. By rearranging columns, you can reorganize information, group related data together, or adjust the order of columns to fit your analysis requirements. Excel provides multiple techniques to achieve this, depending on your specific needs.

Method 1: Using the Shift Key

The Shift key method allows you to quickly move columns without overwriting any existing data. To move a single column using this method, follow these steps:

  1. Select the column you want to move by clicking on the column header.
  2. Position your cursor over the selected column’s border until a four-sided arrow appears.
  3. Press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard.
  4. Click and hold the left mouse button.
  5. Move the column to the desired new position.
  6. Release the left mouse button.
  7. Release the Shift key.

To move multiple columns using the Shift key method, follow the same steps for each column individually.

Method 2: Insert Cut Cells

If you prefer a more traditional approach, you can use the Insert Cut Cells method. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Select the column you wish to move by clicking on the column header.
  2. Right-click on the selected column and choose the “Cut” option from the context menu.
  3. Select the column where you want to insert the cut column. It will be inserted before the selected column.
  4. Right-click on the selected column and choose the “Insert Cut Cells” option from the context menu.

Using this method, you can move a single column, multiple columns, or even a combination of columns and rows.

Method 3: Magic Move

Excel offers a powerful feature called Magic Move that allows you to change the order of all columns in one go. Follow these steps to use Magic Move:

  1. Select the row that contains the column names or headers.
  2. Right-click on the selected row and choose the “Insert” option from the context menu.
  3. Use the first row to indicate the new order of the columns. For example, if you want the columns to be ordered as Sales, Quarter, Country, Last Name, enter these names in the respective cells.
  4. Select the data range including the column headers and the data below.
  5. On the Data tab, in the Sort & Filter group, click on the “Sort” button.
  6. In the Sort dialog box, click on “Options.”
  7. Select “Sort left to right” and click “OK.”
  8. Select Row 1 from the ‘Sort by’ drop-down list and click “OK.”
  9. Delete the first row that was used to indicate the new column order.

Using Magic Move, you can easily rearrange the order of multiple columns with a single operation.


Being able to move columns in Excel is a valuable skill that allows you to organize and analyze your data more effectively. In this guide, we have explored three different methods: using the Shift key, Insert Cut Cells, and Magic Move. Each method offers its own advantages and can be used depending on your specific requirements. With these techniques at your disposal, you can easily rearrange columns in Excel to suit your data analysis needs.


Can I rearrange the order of columns in Excel?

Yes, you can rearrange the order of columns in Excel using various methods such as the Shift key method, Insert Cut Cells, or the Magic Move feature.

Is there a shortcut to move columns in Excel?

Yes, you can use the Shift key as a shortcut to quickly move columns in Excel without overwriting existing data. Press and hold the Shift key while selecting and moving the column to the desired position.

What happens to the data when I move columns in Excel?

When you move columns in Excel, the data within the columns is also moved accordingly. The data will retain its content and formatting, but its position within the worksheet will change based on the new column order.

Can I move multiple columns at once in Excel?

Yes, you can move multiple columns simultaneously in Excel. To do this, select each column individually while using the Shift key method or Insert Cut Cells method. Move them to the desired new position collectively.

How do I undo a column move in Excel?

To undo a column move in Excel, you can use the Undo command. Simply press Ctrl + Z on your keyboard, or click on the Undo button in the toolbar. This will revert the column back to its original position before the move.

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