How to Swap Columns in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Swapping columns in Excel might sound tricky, but it’s actually super simple once you know how. By following just a few steps, you can easily move data from one column to another without messing up your spreadsheet. Ready to become an Excel pro? Let’s dive in!

How to Swap Columns in Excel

Alright, here’s the game plan. We’re going to take one column and swap its place with another. This might be useful if you’ve got data in the wrong spots or simply want to reorganize things. Stick with me, and you’ll be a column-swapping wizard in no time!

Step 1: Select the Column You Want to Move

Click on the header of the column you want to move to highlight it.

Selecting the right column is crucial. Make sure you click on the letter at the top of the column to highlight the whole thing. If you only click on a cell, you’ll only move that cell, not the entire column.

Step 2: Cut the Column

Right-click the highlighted column and choose “Cut” from the context menu.

Cutting the column temporarily removes it from its current position, but don’t worry—your data isn’t gone. It’s just hanging out in the clipboard, waiting for you to paste it back in a new spot.

Step 3: Select the Destination Column

Click on the header of the column where you want to move the cut column.

Decide where you want your original column to go. Remember, the column you select will shift to the right to make space for the incoming data.

Step 4: Insert the Cut Column

Right-click the selected destination column and choose “Insert Cut Cells” from the context menu.

This step will move your cut column into its new home. The destination column and all the columns to the right will shift over one spot to accommodate the moved data.

Step 5: Adjust Your Data as Needed

Check your spreadsheet to make sure everything is in the right place, and make any necessary adjustments.

Sometimes columns might not fit perfectly where you put them, especially if you have merged cells or specific formatting. Double-check everything to ensure it looks just how you want it to.

After completing these steps, you’ll see that your columns have swapped places. Neat, huh? Now your data is well-organized, and you didn’t lose any valuable information in the process.

Tips for Swapping Columns in Excel

  • Backup Your Data: Always save a copy of your spreadsheet before making significant changes.
  • Use Excel Shortcuts: Use Ctrl+X to cut and Ctrl+V to paste for quicker column swapping.
  • Mind the Formulas: Moving columns can break formulas. Check them afterward to ensure they still reference the correct cells.
  • Merged Cells: Be cautious with merged cells. They can complicate the swapping process.
  • Undo Button: If something goes wrong, just hit Ctrl+Z to undo your last action.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I swap non-adjacent columns?

Yes, you can! Simply cut the column you want to move and then paste it into the desired location, even if it’s not right next to the original position.

Will this method work with Excel Online?

Yes, the steps are similar in Excel Online. However, the interface might look slightly different, so keep an eye out for similar options.

What happens to the data in the destination column?

The destination column and all columns to the right of it will shift one position to the right, making room for your moved column.

Can I swap entire rows the same way?

Yes, swapping rows follows a similar process. Select the row, cut it, then insert it where you want it to go.

How do I fix broken formulas after swapping columns?

Check the formulas and update the cell references if needed. Excel might adjust some references automatically, but it’s good to double-check.


  1. Select the column you want to move.
  2. Cut the column.
  3. Select the destination column.
  4. Insert the cut column.
  5. Adjust your data as needed.


Congratulations, you’ve mastered a crucial Excel skill! Swapping columns in Excel is now a breeze for you, and it’s a fantastic way to keep your data organized and efficient. Whether you’re tidying up a messy spreadsheet or optimizing your data layout, these steps will help you achieve a polished result.

Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you work with Excel, the more comfortable you’ll become with its features. If you found this guide helpful, why not dive deeper into other Excel functionalities? There’s always more to learn, and who knows? You might become the go-to Excel guru in your school or workplace.

So, go ahead, open up that messy spreadsheet, and start swapping those columns. Happy Excel-ing!

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