How to Switch Columns in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for 2023

Switching columns in Excel is a simple yet powerful skill that can save you time and keep your data organized. You can easily move or swap columns by using the cut-paste method or the drag-and-drop feature. Both methods are user-friendly, allowing you to rearrange your data efficiently.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Switch Columns in Excel

In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through the steps to switch columns in Excel. You’ll learn how to use both the cut-paste method and the drag-and-drop method to rearrange your data.

Step 1: Select the Column You Want to Move

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

When you click on the letter, the entire column will be highlighted. This ensures you’re selecting all the data in that column.

Step 2: Cut the Column

Right-click on the highlighted column and select "Cut."

Alternatively, you can press "Ctrl+X" on your keyboard. The column will be temporarily removed and ready to be placed in a new location.

Step 3: Select the Target Location

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

Make sure you select the correct location. The column you cut will be inserted to the left of this column.

Step 4: Insert the Column

Right-click on the target column and select "Insert Cut Cells."

The column you cut will now appear in its new location. All the data will be transferred without any loss.

Step 5: Use the Drag-and-Drop Method (Alternative)

Click and hold the edge of the column letter, then drag it to the desired location.

This method is quicker but requires a steady hand. Once you release the mouse button, the column will drop into its new place.

After you complete these actions, you’ll have successfully switched your columns in Excel. Your data will now be in the new arrangement you set.

Tips for Switching Columns in Excel

  • Use Keyboard Shortcuts: "Ctrl+X" to cut and "Ctrl+V" to paste can make the process faster.
  • Undo Mistakes: If you make a mistake, press "Ctrl+Z" to undo the last action.
  • Double-Check Your Data: Always verify that your data has been moved correctly to avoid errors.
  • Practice Both Methods: Familiarize yourself with both the cut-paste and drag-and-drop methods to find which one you prefer.
  • Save Your Work: Always save your Excel file before making large changes to avoid data loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I switch multiple columns at once?

Yes, you can select multiple columns by clicking and dragging across the column headers, then use the cut-paste method to move them all at once.

What if I accidentally delete a column?

If you accidentally delete a column, you can press "Ctrl+Z" to undo the deletion and restore your data.

How do I switch columns without losing formatting?

Both methods preserve the formatting of your data. Just make sure you are cutting and pasting the entire column.

Can I switch columns in Excel Online?

Yes, the process is similar in Excel Online. You can use the cut-paste method or drag-and-drop to switch columns.

What if my data is in a table format?

If your data is in a table format, you can still switch columns, but make sure to maintain the structure by moving entire columns and not just parts of them.


  1. Select the column you want to move.
  2. Cut the column.
  3. Select the target location.
  4. Insert the column.
  5. Use the drag-and-drop method (alternative).


Switching columns in Excel doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Whether you’re using the cut-paste method or the drag-and-drop method, you can easily reorganize your data to suit your needs. This skill is especially handy when dealing with large datasets or needing to present information more logically.

Don’t forget to practice both methods to find out which one you are more comfortable with. Also, keeping a backup of your data before making significant changes is always a good idea. Now that you’re equipped with this knowledge, go ahead and give it a try. Excel offers a world of possibilities for data management, and mastering these basic skills will set you up for success in future projects. So, roll up your sleeves and switch those columns like a pro!

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