How To Quickly Delete Rows or Columns in an Excel Worksheet

by Updated January 29, 2009

Here are some tips to quickly delete rows or columns in Microsoft Excel using shortcut keys. First you need to know how to delete Excel, cells, rows or columns. 

  1. Select the cells, rows, or columns that you'd like to delete.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Delete. You can also right-click a selection of cells, rows, or columns, and then click Delete from the shortcut menu. Then choose how you'd like to make your deletion, you'll have four delete options: Shift cells left, Shift cells up, Entire row, or Entire column.

    Note:  Keep in mind that just pressing the DELETE key on your keyboard only deletes the contents of the selected cells, not the cells themselves.
  3. Once you've made your first deletion, you can quickly repeat deleting cells, rows, or columns, by selecting the next cells, rows, or columns, you would like to delete and then press CTRL+Y. For those with small hands, pressing CTRL+Y may be a bit of a stretch, but hopefully you can make it work (try angling your keyboard 45 degrees while it's flat, top left of keyboard would be closer to your monitor, the bottom right of the keyboard would be closer to you). This angle helped me get a more comfortable hand position, which allowed my pinky finger and index finger to reach the CTRL key and Y key at the same time.
  4. If needed, you can restore deleted data immediately after deletion. On the Edit menu, click Undo Delete, or press CTRL+Z.

Quick tip: To help speed up cell selection, I'd recommend you use the UP and Down arrow keys on your keyboard to move up or down quickly between rows/cells. I've found this to be much better than using the mouse cursor to select and move between cells.

 


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