Tuesday Tip: Adding Rows and Columns in Excel without Getting Your Mouse Involved

By Richard Stokes

Keyboard shortcut Jumping MouseSince we started writing and posting our Tuesday Tips there have been many dedicated to tricks and time savers in Microsoft Excel.  If you missed out on some of our previous ones, here are a few for your reading pleasure:  Divide and Conquer: Columns in Excel, Excel Conditional Formatting and How to fix a Common Excel Error.

This week’s tip goes out to all of you who are fans of using keyboard shortcuts instead of your mouse.  This little guy (pictured) holds a special place in my heart as he was used in one of David’s tips and I always chuckle at the sight of the little fella.

Anyway, enough about jumping mice.  Here is how to insert or remove a row or column in Excel without using your mouse:

1)    Below is a sample of a spreadsheet that shows an insurance payer mix for a medical practice.  Let’s say you want to add another row above Cigna so that you can track a new insurance carrier contract.  Start by selecting any cell in that row (row 6).  In this case I have selected cell B6.

Keyboard shortcut - Insert rows in Excel #1



2)    Then on the keyboard, press and hold the ‘SHIFT’ key along with the ‘SPACE’ bar.  This will highlight the entire row as shown below.  If you want to add a column instead of a row, follow the same step but press and hold the ‘CTRL’ key along with the ‘SPACE’ bar and the B column will be highlighted (columns will add to the left of the section you have highlighted).

Keyboard shortcut - Insert rows in Excel #2



3)    Once the row or column is highlighted press and hold the ‘CTRL’ key along with the ‘+’ key.  A blank row will be inserted above (or column to the left).  This also works the other way if you want to delete a row or column by pressing and holding the ‘CTRL’ key and then the ‘–‘ key.

Keyboard shortcut - Insert rows in Excel #3



Note – if you do not have the accounting number key pad as a part of your keyboard (circled in red) then you won’t have a stand-alone ‘+’ key as shown (#1).  In this case, you’ll have to use the key that is shared with the ‘=‘ symbol (#2).  In order for this shortcut to work you will have to press and hold ‘CTRL’, ‘SHIFT’ and the ‘+/=’ key to get the same result.

Keyboard shortcut - Insert rows in Excel #4




So, keep cranking away in your spreadsheets and leave that mouse alone.

Richard Stokes: As the Director of Sales for Network 1, Richard identifies “future” clients that can benefit from the support of an experienced, outsourced IT team. He helps clients and prospects find technology solutions they need to achieve better productivity and efficiency so they can focus on making money and growing their businesses.

Network 1 designs, builds and supports the IT you need to run your business more securely, productively and successfully. Whether you want to outsource all of your IT needs to a reliable, responsive, service-oriented company, or need to supplement the work of your internal IT staff, we will carefully evaluate where you are now, discuss where you want to go and implement and support a plan to get you there with as little interruption as possible.


  1. Nothing found for 4436 on August 5, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    […] Tuesday Tip: Adding Rows and Columns in Excel without Getting Your Mouse Involved […]

  2. Michelle Bouchelle on August 12, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    I love it!! Excellent shortcuts! Keep the efficiency suggestions coming.

  3. Tuesday Tip – Fun and Easy Excel Tips on January 6, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    […] great Excel tips from our previous Tips, check out Alisa’s How to Excel in Excel and Richard’s Adding Rows and Columns in Excel Without Your Mouse.  Here’s to a productive New […]

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