The main workspace of every spreadsheet is a grid of columns and rows. You can move, insert and delete these columns and rows, and the surrounding data will adjust accordingly.

Let’s use a basic spreadsheet as an example as we dive further into this concept.

In the image above, the active cell is `E7`

. The cell is named `E7`

because it is at the intersection of column `E`

and row `7`

. As we work through the examples below, the `SUM`

formula in `E7`

will be our focus as the formula adapts to the changing layouts.

Contents

## Video Tutorial

## Working with Rows, Columns, and Cells

### Adding Rows

First, we will add a row between rows `6`

and `7`

.

To add a row, right-click (command-click on a Mac) in the grid, as shown in the animation above. Right-clicking will bring up a context menu with the options to **Insert one row above** or **Insert one row below**. We inserted a row above `7`

. This moved the contents of cell `E7`

down one row to `E8`

, leaving `E7`

empty. If we inserted a row below `6`

, it would produce the same result.

Notice the cell reference `E3:E6`

in the `SUM`

formula stayed the same. This is helpful because the formula still includes the same range instead of shifting down to start at `E4`

. However, be aware the new cell range does not include cell `E7`

. If you add data to row `7`

, you will have to update the range in the `SUM`

formula.

## Deleting Columns

Adding or deleting columns is also done through the context menu. In this case, we chose **Delete column**. The data from columns `C`

and `D`

shifts left to columns `B`

and `C`

. Similar to how the formula updated when we added a row, the `SUM`

formula range shifts one column left from `E3:E6`

to `D3:D6`

when we delete this column.

As long as no formulas depend on the columns, you can delete columns without complications. Adding columns is a similar process as formulas are updated to compensate for the extra column. However, working with single cells is trickier. Let’s take a look at that next.

## Deleting Cells

In the animation above, we delete cell `A4`

from the table. Since the table consists of similar rows meant to be aligned, deleting one cell disrupts this alignment.

Unlike working with rows and columns, formulas do not necessarily update when one cell is added, deleted, or moved. The SUM formula in cell `D7`

does not change in the example above. Therefore, the amount in cell `D7`

decreases from `1907.92` to `908.42`.

## Swapping Rows and Columns

There may be times when you want to switch the locations of rows or columns.

After selecting the rows or columns, you want to switch, click on the corresponding row numbers or column letters and drag them to the desired location. Notice in the animation a thick grey line indicates the insertion point.

Be careful when swapping rows. However, if you watch the animation closely, you will see that total in the lower right changes from `1907.92` to `1188.55`! You may need to adjust the cell ranges of the formula to avoid mistakes like these.

While swapping data trades one location with another, you can move rows, columns, or cells without switching places. Moving items comes with its issues, which we will talk about next.

## Moving Rows, Columns, and Cells

Moving cells, rows, and columns can be a quick way to rearrange your data. Moving a cell to the edge of your data, such as `D7`

above, will not break any formulas. However, you will notice that moving a row in the middle of a table overwrites the data in the destination row.

## Cell References

Most of the issues encountered above deal with cell references changing. We will discuss how cell references work next.