How can I move columns with drag and drop in Excel 2011?

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  • Why in the world do we even have to ask this question??? Haha - this is the third time I've googled the answer. So non-intuitive is the solution. +1 for asking and getting a working answer. – bgmCoder Aug 8 '16 at 21:58

Answered by deargeek.net:

  1. Select the Column or Row you want to move
  2. Move your mouse pointer up to the blue edge of the selection until it changes from a cross to a regular pointer arrow or hand. Note: The mouse pointer must be on one of the highlighted cells and not on the row or column headings.
  3. Hold down the shift key and click and drag the column/row to the new position. A faint “I” bar that runs the entire length of the row or column, along with a box indicating where the new row or column appears.
  4. Release the mouse button and then leave the SHIFT button, and your row or column is moved.

I have verified this with Excel 2011 (14.0.2) running in Mac OS 10.6.7.

  • +1 This will be a big time saver for me. I confirmed it works with Excel 2007 on Windows Vista. It works with columns in an external data table as well. The columns stay put even after a data refresh. – dbenham Feb 24 '12 at 21:02
  • 1
    Wow, the Excel team should win an award for the most intuitive user interface on this one. – devios1 Nov 26 '12 at 23:36
  • Also works in Excel 2013 on Windows. – Geoff Jun 7 '13 at 18:59
  • For me: Step 2, The pointer changes from a cross to a hand, not an arrow. Excel 2011 14.3.5. – Simon Woodside Jul 12 '13 at 0:41
  • You way want to add that this will not work for filtered data in Excel 2010. The columns will need to be unfiltered before they can be moved. – Steven Vascellaro Aug 7 '17 at 19:47

Indeed, in Excel 2010 you can use that method to move a column of data.

However:

  1. The header does not follow, must be copied.
  2. The blank column must then be deleted.
  3. Excel does not recognize a column moved from within a table to a far left position as being part of the table (did not test moving it to the end of table).
  4. Including the newly moved column in a select range to convert the table back to a range is not permitted, the button is grayed out; have to select only the originally defined table to convert it to a range.

Easier to conver the table back to a range, use Cut/Insert columns to rearrange, then convert back to a table.

Would be awesome if these tables had the move-capability of a Pivot table.

Thanks

On Windows 7, Office 2010 I found that the SHIFT key, as described by Brian above, is not needed and in fact changes the behavior from 'moving with insertion' to 'moving with overwriting' -- i.e. rather than getting a thin vertical insertion line, Excel has a rectangular insertion and asks you: 'Do you want to replace the contents of the destination cells?'

The CTRL key, changes the behavior from move to copy.

Also, contrary to the note by Kim, the technique describes DOES move the header column as desired.

No Shift required

  1. Highlight the Table column by clicking on the Header (data only selected)
  2. Click Header again to select header as well as data
  3. move mouse to side of header cell to get four-pointed-arrow
  4. click and drag to new location in the table.

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