Rows and Columns in Excel, differences and basic usage

One of the most important aspects in a spreadsheet are the rows and columns since these are the references to the cells where all our data will be found. A row and a column are only one direction, as if we were talking about a Cartesian plane, etc., or explained in an easier way to understand, like a map with divisions.

excel logo 365

1. Rows

The main characteristic of the rows is that they are horizontal and are numbered from 1 to 1,048,576 by default.

excel rows

1.1. Select row

If we want to apply some format or alter all the cells that are in a row, we click on the row number and all the cells in that row will be selected, whether they have data or are empty.

excel select row

1.2. Delete row

To delete a complete row and go through the numbering of these, we right-click on the row number and select the «Delete» option.

excel delete row

1.3. Hide and show row

If we want to hide a row it is quite simple, the row will remain existing, but it will be compacted. We start by doing right-click on the row number and then on «Hide».

excel hide row

The hidden row will appear as collapsed, as if it were a small space without a number, but in the cell area there will be no trace of the existence of the hidden row.

excel hidden row

To show a row that was previously hidden, we right-click on the small mark or the space that was left between rows and click on «Unhide» or simply double-click. It is important that the cursor has a space between the two arrows before performing the procedure.

excel hidden row cursor
excel show row

1.4. Insert row

To insert a new row without having to move the data in the cells, we right-click on the row that we want to move, for example, if we have row 1 and 2, and we want to insert a row between the two, we must select number 2, and select the «Insert» option.

excel insert row

1.5. Clear row contents

It is different to clear the content of a row to delete a row, clearing the content of a row consists of emptying the content or values that the cells have. For example, in a cell with a green background and a value of 12, the background will remain intact, but the value 12 will be removed. It is useful to erase the data and leave the format intact.

To clear the content of an entire row, we right-click on its number and select the option «Clear contents».

excel clear contents of row

1.6. Modify row height

To modify the height of a row, we have two options, the first is by dragging to the desired size.

excel modify height row drag

To modify it to a specific value we right-click on the row number and click on «Row height...», there we specify the desired value and confirm with «OK».

excel row modify height with row height

2. Columns

The columns on the other hand are organized vertically and are represented with the letters of the alphabet, starting from A to XFD, attaching a new letter each time the end of the alphabet is reached. For example, after column Z comes column AA.

excel columns

2.1. Select column

The column selection is the same as the row selection, only this time you click on the letter of the column in the initial part.

excel select column

2.2. Delete column

To delete a column, we right-click on it and select the option «Delete» in the menu.

excel delete column

2.3. Hide and show column

To hide a column, we right-click on the letter that corresponds to it and select the option «Hide» in the menu.

excel hide column

On the contrary, to show a column that is hidden we double-click on the small space that remains after hiding it, it is a small box without a letter, just when we have the mouse over it the cursor will change to one with a space.

excel show column on double click

2.4. Insert column

To insert a column, we must consider that they are inserted to the right of the column that we select, for example, if I select column A and use the «Insert» option, a new column will be created just to the right, creating a new B that it moves to the previous B and turning it into a C. We just right-click on the left column and click on «Insert».

excel insert column

2.5. Clear column contents

The difference between clearing the content of a column and deleting a column is obvious to some people, but not to others, so the answer is that clearing the content involves emptying the cells and leaving the format of them intact and delete is just delete and move data.

To clear the content of a column and keep the format, we right-click on the letter and use the option «Clear contents».

excel clear column contents

2.6. Modify column width

To modify the width of a column, we drag one of its borders horizontally to the desired size, or we right-click on the column and use the option «Column width...». There we fill the desired value and confirm with «OK».

excel modify column width

3. Conclusion

This tutorial could be considered one of the most basic, all this information is necessary for an efficient use of Excel. If we have any questions, we can always investigate the help provided by Microsoft in its official documentation, although a little scarce of examples, and it is not so accessible for beginners. In my experience, despite the errors that Excel has, it is necessary to learn how to use it correctly because it is mainly widely used and because it really saves us a lot of time in performing daily tasks with spreadsheets.