Excel: How to swap columns

Swapping between columns and rows is one of the common mistakes that you will experience while using MS Excel. During text selection, you may rearrange your text unintentionally if you click at the wrong time. However, the swap function also has its positives. As a regular Excel user, it is pertinent for you to know how to swap columns. Follow me as I walk you through the Excel swapping procedure.


Switching of places using cut or paste method

You can try this cut and paste method if the drag or shift method is not appealing to you.

Simply follow the steps below:

  • While on your Excel spreadsheet, locate and select the header of the column. You will notice that the entire column will be highlighted.

  • Press the right-click button and select "Cut" on the options. You can use the shortcut by pressing Ctrl + X.

  • Move the cursor to the column you wish to swap. Make sure that you select the header so that the entire column can be highlighted.

  • Press the right-click button and select "insert cut cells" in the drop-down menu.

  • Within a blink, the column will be swapped with the original one. You can use this method to swap as many columns.

In practice, this procedure will only take you a couple of seconds. I hope this tutorial is comprehensive enough. Try it out!

Using the shift or drag method

  • Open your MS Excel and open the file you wish to swap columns in.
  • Locate the column that you wish to swap, select, and hold it down by pressing the shift button.

  • Hover to the rightmost border of the cell, select it and drag it outwards. You should continue holding the shift key.

While doing this, you will observe that as the cursor is dragged out, its shape changes. The new shape depends on the position of the cursor.

Within a jiffy, the cursor will become a very thick horizontal "I" shape. You will find it at the bottom of the adjacent cell, and the value of the cell below that line will swap with the cell. In the same vein, if you move the cursor to the topmost part of the adjacent cell, it will take up a horizontal shape and be very thick. The cell above the adjacent one will swap with the value of the cell on top.

  • However, if the cursor changes to a thick "I" while you drag towards the right, the selected cell will swap its contents with the adjacent cell.
  • In summary, if you want to swap values between columns, take note of the column you want to swap with. Select the column and hold down the shift button while dragging the cursor to the column you wish to swap.
  • Release the mouse and the shift key immediately you are able to position the cursor at the column you want to swap contents to.