How to Change Column Order in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Ever found yourself staring at an Excel spreadsheet wishing the columns were in a different order? Fear not, changing the column order in Excel is a piece of cake once you know how. It’s all about cutting and pasting, dragging and dropping, or employing the power of the ‘Custom Sort’ function. Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial to Change Column Order in Excel

Before we start rearranging those columns, it’s important to know that changing the order can be achieved in different ways depending on your needs. We’ll walk through the most common methods so you can choose the one that works best for you.

Step 1: Select the Column

Click on the letter at the top of the column you want to move.

When you select a column in Excel, the whole column from top to bottom gets highlighted. Make sure you click on the actual letter at the top, not just a cell within the column, to select the entire thing.

Step 2: Cut or Copy the Column

Right-click on the selected column and choose ‘Cut’ or ‘Copy’.

Cutting a column will remove it from its current location, while copying will keep it intact. If you’re unsure or want to play it safe, copy instead of cut.

Step 3: Select the Destination

Click on the letter at the top of the column where you want your cut or copied column to go.

This is where you’re telling Excel, “Hey, put my column here!” If you want the column to be the first thing in your spreadsheet, you would click on the ‘A’ at the top.

Step 4: Insert Cut or Copied Column

Right-click on the selected destination column, and choose ‘Insert Cut Cells’ or ‘Insert Copied Cells’.

Excel will shuffle the columns around and put your selected column in its new place. If you copied the column, the original one would still be in its old place.

After completing these steps, your column will be in its new spot, and you’ll be on your way to a better-organized spreadsheet.

Tips for Changing Column Order in Excel

  • If you’re nervous about messing up your data, try copying instead of cutting.
  • Use ‘Undo’ (Ctrl + Z) if you make a mistake—you can always go back a step.
  • Consider copying your entire spreadsheet to a new tab before making big changes, just in case.
  • Use the ‘Custom Sort’ function if you need to reorder multiple columns based on specific criteria.
  • Remember that changing the order of columns could affect formulas, so double-check your calculations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I move multiple columns at once?

Yes, you can! Just hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key while clicking on the column letters to select more than one.

Will my formulas update if I move columns?

Generally, yes, Excel is smart enough to update references in formulas when you move columns. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check.

What if I want to alphabetize my columns?

You can use the ‘Custom Sort’ function for that. Go to the ‘Data’ tab, click ‘Sort,’ and then you can choose which column you want to sort by.

How can I quickly swap two columns?

The easiest way is to cut one column, insert it next to the other, and then cut and insert the second column where the first used to be.

Can I use ‘Drag and Drop’ to move columns?

Absolutely! Select the column, then move your cursor to the border until it turns into a four-sided arrow. Click, hold, and drag the column to its new location.


  1. Select the column you want to move.
  2. Cut or copy that column.
  3. Select the destination column.
  4. Insert the cut or copied column into the new location.


Changing the column order in Excel doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a few simple clicks and a bit of dragging and dropping, you can rearrange your data to suit your needs. Whether you’re reorganizing a small table or a massive dataset, the flexibility of Excel allows you to customize the layout quickly and efficiently. Remember to copy as a precaution, check your formulas after moving things around, and utilize the ‘Custom Sort’ feature for complex sorting tasks. And there you have it—an Excel spreadsheet with columns neatly arranged just the way you want them. Happy sorting!

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