Often when we use spreadsheets we find ourselves using intermediate steps to help guide our work that may not be necessary when we have the final product. Leaving all the work in (if not called in another part of the sheet or by a function), can make the sheet look messy and make it harder to find the information we actually need.
Most commonly because of how we use sheets we will have unnecessary columns rather than rows although on occasion we can have a mixture. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to delete a column without affecting the rest of your sheet. We’ll also show you how to delete part of a column. Another option is if you have some columns that are necessary but unsightly are hiding these – this way functions can still call on them but you don’t have to see them.
How to Delete an Entire Column in Excel
Step 1: Open your spreadsheet and locate the column you want to delete. In the sheet below we have created a simple data set just for the demonstration.
Step 2: let us presume we want to delete the F column where all the fours are – we right-click on the F to bring up a menu as can be seen below, and click delete (red box)
Step 3: The column will be deleted and the cells will be automatically shifted to the left, so as can be seen below the fours have disappeared and the fives are now in column F
There is another situation we may encounter where we need to delete a part of a column but not the entire thing for example if there is other information in the column and we just want to clear some cells so we’ll look at that scenario next.
Deleting Part of a Column
Step 1: Open your spreadsheet and define what you want to delete. Below we have a spreadsheet that is similar to the one above with one significant difference – the F column containing the fours also contains a separate dataset below that.
Step 2: We want to delete the fours again but leave the sixes alone so in this instance we have to use a different method. This time click with your mouse on the first four in cell F3, hold and drag it down until all the cells containing fours are selected (see image below)
Step 3: Once you’ve selected the cells you want to delete and they are highlighted as above, right-click and select delete in the menu that appears (Red Box)
Step 4: A pop-up will appear giving you options for moving the cells to the right, up, the entire column, or entire row. Since we have set out to preserve the location of the sixes in column F, we select “Shift cells left”. There may be situations where you may wish to make a different selection.
Step 5: the fours will be deleted, the sixes will remain where they are and the fives will shift to the left as can be seen below.