Everyone wants to work efficiently, so learning ways to get small tasks done faster is always a win. All Office apps offer built-in keyboard shortcuts that reduce tasks to a simple keyboard shortcut. A hotkey is a combination of keystrokes. Most start with the Shift or Ctrl key, and a few use both. You hold down the first key, usually Shift or Ctrl, and then press the next key(s).
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In this tutorial, I’ll show you several quick and easy keyboard shortcuts for performing common tasks with rows and columns in Microsoft Excel. They are easy to implement and if you use a few often, they are easy to remember.
I use Microsoft 365 Desktop on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you can use earlier versions of Excel. Excel for the web supports the most common keyboard shortcuts.
Top 11 Excel Shortcuts for Rows and Columns
How to Select Current Row in Excel
My favorite way to select a row is to click on the header cell on the far left, but that isn’t always the most efficient way, especially if you are several screens away from the header cell. If you’ve selected a cell or range of cells in the row you want to select, the keyboard shortcut Shift + Space selects the entire row or rows.
By header cell I mean the column of numbers to the left of column A, as shown in Image A.
This keyboard shortcut also works to select multiple rows. For example, if you selected C4:C12, pressing Shift + Space will select rows 4 through 12. The selection must be contiguous.
How to Select Current Column in Excel
As with selecting a row, you can select an entire column by clicking the column header. If that cell is not available or if you prefer to use the keyboard, press Ctrl + Spacebar to select the current column. If the selection consists of multiple columns, Ctrl + Space selects all adjacent columns.
How to delete current row in Excel
You can quickly delete the contents of a row or a selection of rows by selecting those rows and clicking Delete. However, this does not delete the row(s). The long way around this task is to select the row(s), right-click the selection and choose Delete from the resulting submenu. If you selected a block of contiguous rows, Excel will delete them all.
A keyboard shortcut is also available: Ctrl + -. This shortcut works with multiple rows and even non-contiguous selections.
How to delete current column in Excel
If you select an entire column and click Delete, Excel deletes the contents but not the column, similar to deleting the current row. To delete the current column(s), right-click the current cell or selection and choose Delete from the resulting submenu. Be careful when working with contiguous columns: Excel will delete them all.
The keyboard shortcut for this delete task is also Ctrl + -. This shortcut works with multiple rows, but only with contiguous selections.
Insert a row in Excel
Inserting a row is easy from the keyboard. Right-click on the selected row(s) and choose Insert from the resulting submenu. It doesn’t matter which method you use to select the row(s). Unlike pressing the Delete key to delete content, the Insert key on the keyboard does nothing.
The keyboard shortcut for this task is Ctrl + Shift + +. This also works with multiple rows, contiguous and non-contiguous. If you select contiguous rows, Excel inserts the same number of blank rows as the selection. The new rows are above the selected row.
Insert a column in Excel
To insert a column, select that column, right-click that selection, and then choose Insert from the resulting submenu. If you select contiguous columns, Excel inserts the same number of blank columns as the selection. Excel will insert new columns to the left of the selected columns.
The keyboard shortcut for this task is also Ctrl + Shift + +. This works with multiple rows, but not with non-contiguous selections. If you select contiguous columns, Excel inserts the same number of blank columns as the selection. The new columns are to the left of the selected column.
Apply AutoFit to a row in Excel
The only thing better than a keyboard shortcut is a simple double click. If you can’t read the content in a row because the row height isn’t enough, you can quickly change that property to accommodate the content. Hover over the row’s header cell, then double-click the border. Doing so increases the height property of the row to accommodate the content. This shortcut also works with contiguous and non-contiguous selections.
Apply AutoFit to a column in Excel
As you probably learn, if you can do it on a row, you can do it on a column. To apply AutoFit to increase the width of a column, select the column and double-click one of the borders of the header cell. This shortcut also works with contiguous and non-contiguous column selections.
How to Hide a Row in Excel
Most shortcuts to date require you to select the entire row or column. Not this one. To hide a row or a selection of contiguous or non-contiguous rows, press Ctrl + 9. That’s it.
How to Hide a Column in Excel
The keyboard shortcut to hide a column, a contiguous selection of columns, or a non-contiguous selection is Ctrl + 0. That’s a numeric zero, not a capital O.
How to unhide rows and columns in Excel
Unhiding a row requires a little more work than hiding it, because you need to select a cell in the rows next to the hidden rows. For example, if you hide rows 4, 5, and 6, you must select a cell in both rows 3 and 7. Once you’ve done this, press Shift + Ctrl + 9 to unhide the rows.
To make columns visible, select a cell to the left and right of the hidden columns. Then press Shift + Ctrl + 0.
To make all columns and rows in the sheet visible, click the sheet picker at the intersection of the row and column header cells. Doing this will select the entire sheet. Then press Shift + Ctrl + 9 and Shift + Ctrl + 0 to make everything visible.