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June 2006 : excel 1


  row, row, row your cells

It is often useful or necessary to work with entire rows or columns at a time in Excel. For example, you may want to move all the data in a certain row, add a column, or make all the cells in a column wider. Instead of adjusting individual cells, it is much quicker to work with the whole row or column.

In this article, we'll look at how to work with rows and columns to accomplish several common tasks, ranging from inserting rows and columns to converting rows to columns.

Adjusting row or column size

First off, let's look at how you can make rows and columns bigger or smaller. By default, Excel columns have a width of 8.43 characters, or 64 pixels. Rows have a default height of 12.75 points, or 17 pixels. You can view the width of columns or rows in a ScreenTip by clicking on the right border of a column or the bottom border of a row.

To adjust column or row size, select the heading(s) you want to adjust, then click and drag the border (right for columns, bottom for rows) until you reach the desired size. If you've selected multiple headings, they will all change to the new size.

If you would like to resize a row or column to exactly fit the cell with the most characters (column) or tallest characters (row), use the AutoFit feature. Instead of dragging the heading to resize it, double-click the border; Excel will adjust the row or column to best fit the data.

Copying and moving

To copy an entire row or column using the menus, click the row or column heading, then select Edit > Copy from the menu. Click the location where you want to paste the copied selection, then select Edit > Paste from the menu. A copy of the selection is pasted in the new location, leaving the original selection unchanged.

Moving a row or column is similar to copying, except that the row or column data is moved, not copied. The process is the same, except that you select Edit > Cut from the menu instead of Copy.

You can copy and move just one row or column, or you can select multiple rows and columns-and they needn't be adjacent. Simply hold down the <Ctrl> key to select multiple non-adjacent headings. You can't copy or move both rows and columns at the same time, however.

You can also copy or move a row or column using the click and drag method. To move a row or column to a new location, select the heading of the row or column you want to move, then hover the mouse pointer over the border between the heading and the first cell in the worksheet. When the pointer turns to a cross-hair pointer, drag the rows or columns to the new location and release the mouse button. If you want to copy instead, hold down the <Ctrl> key during the entire process.

Adding and deleting

To add a row or column, select the heading next to where you want to insert the row or column, and select Insert > Rows (or Columns) from the menu. A new row will be inserted directly above the selected heading, while a new column will be inserted directly to the left. You can also insert multiple rows or columns by selecting multiple adjacent or non-adjacent headings before inserting.

If you decide you want to remove a row or column, select the row or column heading and select Edit > Delete from the menu. If you delete something accidentally, remember that you can use Excel's Undo feature to put it back (click the Undo button on the Standard toolbar).

Hiding and displaying

If you decide you don't want a row or column to be visible, but you also don't want to delete it, you can hide it. To hide rows or columns, click the heading(s), then select Format > Row (or Column) > Hide from the menu. The data is hidden, but it is still available for use in formulas or totals.

To display hidden rows or columns, select the adjacent rows (above and below) or columns (left and right) and select Format > Row (or Column) > Unhide from the menu.

Transposing rows with columns

If you have a row that you want to display as a column or vice versa, you can use the Paste Special command to transpose the data. First, copy the data in the rows or columns that you want to transpose. Right-click the first cell where you want to paste the data and select Paste Special. Click the Transpose check box and click OK. A copy of the data is pasted into the worksheet and the rows and columns are reversed. 


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  upcoming classes on Excel

Want to spend your lunchtime learning?  Sign-up for the next Applied Lunches workshop on Microsoft Excel: June 26 at the Lodi Chamber of Commerce conference room.  Find out more.

Applied Office is also offering a few free classes on Microsoft Word in the month of July, hosted at the Lodi Public Library.  Sign up early because seating is very limited.  Find out more.

  quick reference card

Get the Quick Reference Card on Microsoft Excel!  Download it for free and print it on your own printer.  You might even want to laminate it.

  screen shots

The following screen shots illustrate the articles on the left.  Click on one for a larger view.