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Data insertion and cell shifting in MS Excel

Thursday, November 10th, 2005 by | Filed Under: MS Excel

Insert Many Where There Was None

Do you do a lot of copy-paste or cut-paste moves in MS Excel? Tired of shifting cells around to make space for the stuff you need inserted into the middle of your current data set?

How would you like a way to get Excel to do the data shift for you? Excel can shift data at the same time it does the paste. Here’s the scoop.

First you’ll need to highlight the data and either cut or copy as needed.

Then go to the new place where the data is to be inserted, selecting the cell just below the insertion point. Now right click.

From the menu that pops open, select “Insert Copied / Cut Cells“.


From there a small window will appear (Insert Paste) where you’ll have to decide how you want the existing data to be moved.


You can either shift right or down.

If you shift right then the data in ONLY the rows to be affected by the paste will all shift right just far enough to accommodate the pasted cells. This doesn’t clear the whole column, so be careful when dealing with complex worksheets. You could accidentally separate related data from rows not affected by the paste that really belonged in the same column as items that were moved.

Should you choose to shift down, all the data from the selected cell and below in ONLY the affected column(s) will be moved down just enough rows to insert the pasted cells. Again, this does not move all data across the rows, only the data in the pasted columns. So be careful when using this feature!

Click OK once you’ve made a directional decision.

Voila! The copied / cut cells are inserted and you never had to manually move a thing!

~ April

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