How to Add or Insert a New Column in Excel (Multiple Columns)

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- Written by Puneet

While working in Excel, adding or removing column(s) is a common task, and there are multiple ways to add or insert columns in Excel sheets.

One can choose any of the ways to add or insert the columns based on his/her preference.

What is a Column in Excel?

In Excel, a column refers to a vertical sequence of cells. Columns in Excel are designated by alphabetical letters starting from ‘A’ and going on to ‘B’, ‘C’, and so forth.

After the letter ‘Z’, columns continue with double letters such as ‘AA’, ‘AB’, and so on, allowing for many individual columns in a single worksheet.

Steps to Insert a Single Column in Excel

The column headers are labeled alphabetically, starting with A, B, C, etc.

For instance, if you want the new column to appear before column B, you must identify the column header letter B.

  1. First, right-click on any cell in the column.
  2. After that, you will get a pop-up with multiple options.
  3. Now, click on the “Insert” option.
    insert-option
  4. After that, right-click and you will get a pop-up with multiple options.
  5. Now, select the “Entire column” option and click ok.
    select-entire-column
  6. At this point, the column has been inserted to the left of your selected cell.
    new-inserted-column

If you need to add more columns, repeat the steps above. Remember, the new column will always appear to the left of the column you select.

Tip: You can select a single or multiple columns by selecting the column header letters, right-clicking, and selecting “Insert” from the pop-up option. The number of inserted columns always depends on the number of columns you have selected.

insert-single-multiple-columns

You can also insert the column from the “Home” Tab Ribbon.

  1. First, make sure that you are on the “Home Tab” and then click on any cell in the column.
    home-tab-sheet
  2. Here, you will find the “Insert” icon within the “cells” group on the Ribbon.
    cells-group-in-ribbon-tab
  3. Now, click on the “Insert” icon and select “Insert Sheet Column” from the listed drop-down menu.
    insert-sheet-columns
  4. At this point, the column has been inserted to the left of your selected column cell.
    new-inserted-column

Add Multiple Columns in Excel

  • To add multiple columns, first, you need to select multiple cells instead of a single cell.
    select-multiple-cells
  • After that, right-click and you will get a pop-up with multiple options.
  • Now, click on the “Insert” option.
    insert-option
  • Once you click on the “Insert” option, you will again get a pop-up option.
  • Now, select the “Entire column” option and click ok.
    select-entire-column
  • At this point, three columns have been inserted to the left of your selected cells as you had selected three cells.
    multiple-inserted-columns
  • To add the multiple “non-adjacent” columns, First, you need to select the cells one by one by holding the CTRL key from the keyboard.
    non-adjacent-cells
  • Once you select the cells, release the CTRL key
  • After that, right-click and click on the “Insert” option from the pop-up options.
    click-insert-option
  • Now, select the “Entire column” option and click ok.
  • At this point, “non-adjacent” columns have been inserted to the left of your selected cells.
    non-adjacent-columns

Insert a Column in Excel Table

When you convert your data set into a table range, the insert column method loses some functionality.

For example, you cannot insert non-adjacent columns in one go as you do in a normal data set by selecting the non-adjacent columns to insert columns to the left of them.

In table range, if you want to insert multiple non-adjacent columns, you must do it individually.

  • First, click on any cell in the column and right-click.
  • Now, click on the “Insert” option from the pop-up and then select “Table Columns to the Left”.
    table-columns-to-the-left
  • At this point, the column has been inserted to the left of your selected cell.
    inserted-column-in-table
  • To insert the adjacent multiple cells, First, you need to select the multiple adjacent columns.
  • Now, click on the “Insert” option from the pop-up and then select “Table Columns to the Left”.
    multiple-table-columns-to-the-left
  • At this point, two columns have been inserted to the left of your selected cells.
    multiple-inserted-columns

Add a Column using a Keyword Shortcut

  • First, click on the cell to the left of which you want to insert the column.
    click-on-the-cell
  • After that, press the CTRL + SHIFT+ +(plus) button from your keyboard and you will get a pop-up.
  • Now, select the “Entire column” option and click ok.
    select-entire-column-option
  • At this point, the column has been inserted to the left of your selected column cell.
    new-column-inserted

My favorite shortcut method for inserting the column(s) is to select the whole column with a shortcut key to the left of the column you want to insert.

  • For this, First, click on any cell within the column and press CTRL + SPACE key from the keyboard and you will find that your whole column is now selected.
    select-entire-column
  • Now, release the CTRL+ SPACE key and press and hold both the SHIFT + CTRL key, and press + (Plus Sign) from the keyboard.
  • At this point, the column has been inserted to the left of your selected cell.
    insert-new-column

Adding Multiple Columns with Keyboard

You can press + (Plus Sign) multiple times to insert multiple columns while holding the SHIFT + Control.

Or, follow these steps:

  • First, select the number of columns you want to add. You can do this by clicking on a column header and then holding the Shift key while you press the right or left arrow keys.
  • Once you have the columns selected, press the Ctrl + ‘+’ key combination. This will add the same number of columns as you had selected, directly to the left of the selected columns.

Insert a Columns with Insert Cell Option

Select a cell and then right-click on it to bring up the menu.

From the context menu, select the “Insert” option. This will open up a new dialog box titled “Insert”.

In the “Insert” dialog box, you will find various options for inserting new cells or rows. Choose the option that says “Entire Column”.

This means that the selected cell and all cells below it will move down to make room for the new cell.

After choosing “Entire Column”, click on the “OK” button to finalize the insertion of the new cell.

Adding columns in Excel

Last Updated: March 23, 2024