Columns and Their Content

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Columns and Their Content

Introduction

You may have noticed that, in the documents we have used so far, there are some values under some column headers. Because a column is primarily a group of values, you can copy its values to the clipboard and put them in another column.

Moving Columns

In our introduction, we saw that columns assume some default positions when Microsoft Excel starts. On a normal computer spreadsheet, you can move a column from its current position to another.

To move a column, first click its column header to select it. Position the mouse on one of the vertical lines of the selected column:

Click and hold your mouse down. Drag left or right. Two vertical lines would guide you. When you get the column to the desired location, release the mouse.

When you move a column, its boxes move but it assumes the lettered name of the new location so the names would still follow the alphabetic sequence.

To move a group of columns, select them. Position the mouse on one of the vertical lines of the selection:

Moving Columns

Click and hold your mouse down. Drag left or right. Vertical lines would guide you. When you get the columns to the desired location, release the mouse. When you move the columns, their boxes move but they assume the lettered name of the new location with the appropriate alphabetic sequence.

Copying and Pasting Columns

As mentioned already, when moving one or more columns, their location changes. In some cases, you may not want to move the column(s) but only its(their) content. To support this, the operating system provides the clipboard and Microsoft Excel has a high level of support for it. In other words, you can copy the contents of column(s) to the clipboard and paste it(them) to other column(s).

To copy the contents of a column to the clipboard:

  • Right-click the column header and click Copy
  • Click the column header. On the Ribbon, click Home. In the Clipboard section, click Copy

After copying a column to the clipboard, all of its values are made available. To put those values on another column:

  • Right-click the target column header and click Paste
  • Click the column header. On the Ribbon, click Home. In the Clipboard section, click Paste

Cutting the Contents of Columns

As seen already, if you move one or more columns, they go with their contents. If you copy the contents of columns, you would have duplicate (contents) of columns. As an alternative, you can move only the values of columns, not the columns themselves. The Microsoft Windows operating system supports this operation through cutting to the clipboard.

To temporarily move the contents of a column to the clipboard to wait to be pasted:

  • Right-click the column header and click Cut
  • Click the column header. On the Ribbon, click Home. In the Clipboard section, click Cut

After cutting a column to the clipboard, if you do not want to paste it anywhere, you can press Esc. If you want to paste it to another column:

  • Right-click the target column header and click Paste
  • Click the column header. On the Ribbon, click Home. In the Clipboard section, click Paste

To temporarily move the contents of many columns to the clipboard to wait to be pasted, select the columns. Then:

  • Right-click either one of the column headers or inside the selection, and click Cut
  • On the Ribbon, click Home. In the Clipboard section, click Cut

If you want to paste the values to another group of columns:

  • Right-click a target column header and click Paste
  • Click a column header. On the Ribbon, click Home. In the Clipboard section, click Paste

When you paste, the values of the boxes under the original columns would be emptied.