Columns represent one of the basic units of any table in Google Sheets. That's why it's very important to know all the possible ways of manipulating them in your spreadsheet.
Before doing anything at all with a column, you need to select it. Click its heading (a gray block with a letter), and the entire column will be selected automatically while the cursor will be put into its first cell:
You can select multiple adjacent columns using the same method. Click the heading of the first column and drag the mouse over other column letters:
Now that the column is ready, let's start working with it.
The easiest thing you can do with a column is delete it and add a new one. There are three easy ways of doing that in a spreadsheet.
In case you selected a few columns, the option will be called Delete columns A - D.
Tip. The drop-down list will show the names of your selected columns instead of "A - D".
As you could notice in the screenshots above, the drop-down menu allows not only to delete columns in Google Sheets but insert empty ones to the right or to the left of the selected column.
Tip. Google always prompts to add as many columns as you select. That is, if you select 3 columns, the options will state "Insert 3 left" and "Insert 3 right".
Note. Is your spreadsheet refusing to add new columns? Find out why.
Place the cursor into any cell of the needed column and go to Edit > Delete column:
To add a column in Google Sheets to the left, choose Insert > Column left, to add it to the right - Insert > Column right:
Note. This option will always add columns in Google Sheets to the left of the selected one.
Highlight the columns while holding Ctrl pressed, then right-click any of them, and choose to Delete selected columns from the context menu:
So, you've added a column (or a few) to your Google Sheets, deleted one or more here and there. What's next?
Tip. There are ways to add the columns with the related data from other tables. Learn them in this tutorial.
When you enter data to a spreadsheet cell, you need to make sure the column is wide enough to show the values. And you will, most likely, have to widen or narrow it.
Note. Bear in mind that if you specify column width in pixels, some of your data can be partially hidden or, on the contrary, the column will become too wide.
Now you know the fundamentals of working with columns. If you know any other tricks, please share with us in comments below! Next time we'll discuss how to move, merge, hide and freeze the columns in Google Sheets.
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