How to insert new columns in Excel

This post looks at how to add up new columns in Excel 2016 - 2010. Read on to learn shortcuts to insert one or more columns, including nonadjacent ones. Grab and share a special VBA macro to automate adding every other column.

Searching for a good way to insert new columns in your Excel table, you are likely to find lots of different tips and tricks. In this article I hoped to collect the fastest and the most effective ways to add up one or multiple adjoining or non-adjacent columns.

When your report in Excel is almost ready but you understand that it is missing a column to enter important details, grab the time-efficient tricks below. From insert column shortcuts to adding every other column, click the correct link to navigate straight to the point.

Insert column shortcut

If your task is to quickly insert one column, these steps are by far the quickest and simplest.

1. Click on the letter button of the column immediately to the right of where you want to insert the new column.
Click on the letter button to select the entire column

Tip. You can also pick the entire column by selecting any cell and pressing the Ctrl + Space shortcut.

2. Now just press Ctrl + Shift + + (plus on the main keyboard).

Tip. If you are not really into shortcuts, you can right-click on the selected column and pick the Insert option from the menu list.
Right-click on the selected column and pick the Insert option

It really takes just two simple steps to insert a new row in Excel. Read on to see how to add up multiple empty columns to your list.

Insert multiple new columns in Excel

You may need to add up more than one new column to your worksheet. It doesn't mean you have to select the columns one by one and press the insert column shortcut in Excel each time. Luckily it's possible to paste several empty columns in one go.

1. Highlight as many columns as there are new columns you want to get by selecting the column buttons. The new columns will appear immediately to the left.
Highlight several columns by selecting the column buttons

Tip. You can do the same if you select several adjacent cells in one row and press Ctrl + Space.

2. Press Ctrl + Shift+ + (plus on main keyboard) to see several new columns inserted.

Tip. Press F4 to repeat the last action or Ctrl + Y to insert new columns.

This is how you can effortlessly add several new columns to your table in Excel. If you need to add multiple non-adjacent columns, see the steps below.

Add up multiple non-adjacent columns

Excel allows selecting multiple non-adjoining columns and use the insert column shortcut to get new columns appear to their left.

1. Select several non-adjacent columns by clicking on their letter buttons and keeping the Ctrl key pressed. The newly inserted columns will appear to the left.
Select nonadjacent columns by clicking on their letters and keeping Ctrl pressed

2. Press Ctrl + Shift+ + (plus on main keyboard) to see several new columns inserted en masse.

Add a column to a list formatted as Excel Table

If your spreadsheet is formatted as Excel Table you can you can select the option Insert Table Columns to the Right if it's the last column. You can also pick the option Insert Table Columns to the Left for any column in your table.

1. To insert a column, you need to select the necessary one and right click on it.

2. Then pick Insert -> Table Columns to the Right for the last column or Table Columns to the Left.
Click Insert and pick Table Columns to the Right or Table Columns to the Left

The new column will be named Column1 by default.

A special VBA macro to insert every other column

Many Excel users try to save as much time as possible by automating frequent spreadsheet tasks. So, I couldn't leave this post without a macro. Grab this simple piece of code if you need to move the columns apart.

Sub InsertEveryOtherColumn()
    Dim colNo, colStart, colFinish, colStep As Long
    Dim rng2Insert As Range

    colStep = 2
    colStart = Application.Selection.Cells(1, 1).Column + 1

    colFinish = (ActiveSheet.UsedRange.SpecialCells( _
        xlCellTypeLastCell).Column * 2) - colStart

    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    Application.Calculation = xlCalculationManual

    For colNo = colStart To colFinish Step colStep
        ActiveSheet.Cells(1, colNo).EntireColumn.Insert
    Next

    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
    Application.Calculation = xlCalculationAutomatic
End Sub

You may also be interested in

If you often work with Excel on the level of rows and columns, have a look at my previous posts, which can simplify some tasks for you.

Hope these tips will help you in your work with spreadsheets. I always welcome your comments and questions. Be happy and excel in Excel!

5 Responses to "How to insert new columns in Excel"

  1. USAOz says:

    I'm trying to insert a large number (366) of sequential rows between two exiting rows in Excel 2016. None of the options in your add-ons do this except to insert every x number of rows. I had a look at the VBA macro (scares the crap out of me) and was wondering if by removing the +1 parameter it would stop the row skipping option. Advice please

  2. Marie says:

    I am trying to insert a column to the right of the last column in my table, but when I right click on it all it shows is the "insert" tab without any option to the add the column to the left or right. It simply automatically adds the column to the left. How to add a column to the right of the last column in a table?

  3. Manjeet says:

    I want to give name of Inserted columns please suggest how it will be done by VBA for whole sheet.

  4. Joedy says:

    I am trying to insert the data from a specific column from a table on one sheet (sheet 2) when I select a drop down item on sheet 1 (drop down is header of the column on sheet 2)on another

  5. Mark Kamoski says:

    Dear Author, This is a great article, but in the Spirit of clarity, please consider the following edit.
    Change from this...
    1. To insert a column, you need to select the necessary one and right click on it.
    ...to this...
    1. To insert a column, you need to select the necessary one [SELECTING JUST THE COLUMN HEADER CELL] and right click on it.
    ...and that will work for Excel 2013, because if one selects the whole column itself, then the "insert to the left/right" option does NOT appear, so one has to select JUST the header cell.
    HTH.
    Thanks and God bless you.
    -- Mark Kamoski.

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