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How to add a column in Excel

Microsoft Excel is a powerful database management tool with all sorts of in-depth problem-solving functions and dynamic formatting. To make the most of it, though, you need to know the basics. Adding a column in Microsoft Excel is quick and easy. You can do it in just a few quick steps once you've learned how.

For more Excel tips, check out our guides on how to merge and umerge cells in Excel and how to create a drop-down list.

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What You Need

  • Desktop PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone

  • Microsoft Excel

Adding a new column to an entire spreadsheet

Sometimes you want to add a new column that extends from the top to the bottom of your spreadsheet. This can be done in a couple of easy steps.

Step 1: Select the column to the right of where you want to add the new column. Just click the top of the column and Excel will highlight it.

Selecting an entire column in Microsoft Excel.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 2: Right-click on the column and select Insert, Your new column will be inserted, and you can work with it as needed.

Note that this will impact the entire spreadsheet, so if you have just a portion where you want to add a column, skip to the next section.

Choosing insert column from menu in Microsoft Excel.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 3: In this case, we added an "Expenses" column, and it now shows between Last name and Sales.

New column inserted in Microsoft Excel.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Adding a partial column

Sometimes, you want to add a new column to just part of a spreadsheet. That's easy to do as well.

Step 1: Select the cells to the right of where you want to add the new column.

Selecting part of a column to add in Microsoft Excel.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 2: Right-click on the selection and select Insert.

Step 3: You will be presented with the option to Shift cells right, Shift cells down, insert an Entire row, or insert an Entire column. In this case, we want to shift the cells to the right so that we can add a new column to this portion of the spreadsheet.

Inserting partial column options in Microsoft Excel.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 4: You will now have a new column to work with in this portion of the spreadsheet without impacting your other information.

Partial column inserted in Microsoft Excel.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Want to learn more? Give your Microsoft Excel tips and tricks guide a look.

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