How to Swap Columns in Excel: The Right Ways to Do It

Swapping columns in Excel will only seem tricky if you’re unaware of the methods. I won’t say that every method is going to be suited for you. I mean hey, you might find a procedure easier than others.

Even if you know all the methods, applying them efficiently in real life can prove to be tricky. Worry not, we’re here to help you learn each procedure step by step.

To be honest, there are multiple ways to go about it. Almost all of them are pretty easy. By the end of the write-up, I hope that all your questions regarding column swapping will be answered. So, why wait?

Let’s begin!

5 Easy Methods to Swap Columns in Excel

Now that we’re done with the introductory bit, let’s see what ways are there exactly to swap the needed columns in Excel. Let’s check them out!

Method 1: The Drag and Drop Method

In all the methods that we’ll discuss from here on out, we’re going to use the same table for your better understanding. Follow the steps below if you want to go with Method 1.

1. The first thing you’ll want to do is open your Excel file that consists the information in the columns that you want to swap. As you can see here, there are rows of First Name, Full Name, Last Name, E-mail Address, and Country.

Swap Columns In Excel Method 1.1

2. Now, let’s say you want to move the Last Name Column C to Column B, so that it’s placed directly after the First Name Column A.

3. Click on the mouse in the first cell of column C. Drag down and select all the data. Now, you have to hover over the box line until the full black arrows appear.

Swap Columns In Excel Method 1.2

4. Now hold down the mouse key and also hold down the shift on the keypad. Then you’ll want to drag the mouse cursor until the big vertical line appears.

Swap Columns In Excel Method 1.3

5. Now if you release the left mouse key, you’ll find that the two columns are immediately switched as desired.

Swap Columns In Excel Method 1.4

That’s just about it with Method 1. Now, let’s move on.

Method 2: The Intercut Cell Method

The second easiest to do it is by intercutting the cells. Just follow the steps.

1. The first thing you’ll have to do is to select the column (Column A in this case) and cut it using Ctrl + X. Or you can just use the cut option from the right click menu.

Swap Columns In Excel Method 2.1

2. Now you have to choose the column before which you want to replace the column with. Just right click on that column and select intercut cells.
Swap Columns In Excel Method 2.2

3. And voila! You’ll be able to see the results you wanted.
Swap Columns In Excel Method 2.3

Method 3: The Sort by Method

This method is perhaps the most complex one yet and it’s done by a new dynamic array function called “Sort By.” This allows you to keep your original range of data and put the desired data on a different part of the sheet or a different work sheet.

You can actually simulate what the columns should look like. So, here we go!

1. First you have to figure out exactly on which order you want the data to go. Select the order in your own manner as shown in the numbers below the table.

Swap Columns In Excel Method 3.1

2. Now, in another part of the sheet you’ll have to write SORTBY. So, what it does is, it sorts your array. First, you’ll have to select the entire array after placing the parenthesis. And then after comma, you just have to select the order. Then select parenthesis and you’re done!

Swap Columns In Excel Method 3.2

Just look at the three images below and you’ll get a clear picture of the whole process.

Note that we placed the formula on the first cell of column H. After pressing enter, the entire array of data appeared the way we wanted to.

So, these are the most efficient ways you can actually switch columns in Microsoft Excel. The third one might prove to be a bit complex but it offers better control when you have to deal with large amounts of data.

Method 4: The Keyboard Shortcut Method

This method can also be called the keyboard shortcut method. As the name suggests, we’ll be using keyboard shortcuts as our main utility as shown below.

1. Suppose you want to swap column B with column C. Then you’ll have to firstly select column B and then press Ctrl + X on your keyboard.

Swap Columns In Excel Method 4.1

2. The next thing you want to do is, select column C and hold down Ctrl and the + sign on your numeric keyboard.

Swap Columns In Excel Method 4.2

3. Now you have to select column and press Ctrl + X. Once that’s done, select column B yet again. Then press Ctrl and the + sign. And there you have it. A column swapping task well done.

Swap Columns In Excel Method 4.3

Method 5: VBA Method

To do this right; you have to have a certain amount of knowledge regarding using VBA. In this method, you’ll have to write the macro that would automate the column swapping procedure in your Excel Sheet.

This might sound like a total breeze, but in practice, you’ll need to assign which columns exactly you want to swap and then define their new placements. Yes, this does require quite some time compares to the other methods. The macro has a chance to fail as well. Hence it’s not considered as the best possible way to do it.

Column Swapping in Daily Life

Well, all this info isn’t just for show off. They actually have practical use. When you’re arranging a data sheet for your client, you might have to use any of these methods just in case any changes are required. Especially in office work swapping one column with the other is really commonplace.

In a large array of data, swapping a few columns can even help you present the whole thing in a better manner.

Swapping Columns in Excel Can Be Useful: Here’s How

You might be wondering, if all the information and numeric data is placed in the proper manner and with the right formula, why would I need to swap columns to begin with? Well, let me explain.

Increase in Skill

Every other reason put aside, if you’re a frequent user of Microsoft Excel, you’ll want to know of all the handy tricks that’ll make your work easier. Swapping columns can really have an impact in your work efficiency in various cases. It definitely is a neat skill to have.

Work Efficiency

Suppose you didn’t know how to swap columns in Excel. How would it feel to delete and rewrite every single bit of information again? With the help of the column swapping methods, you can save yourself from the hassle and get work done in a matter of seconds.

Knowing the Pathways

If you’re good at column swapping and are well aware of all the methods, you can use the knowledge in swapping rows as well. No skill in Excel is wasted I always say.


Now, let’s give the answers to a few basic questions that revolve around the whole column swapping topic.

Which method is the best one?

Well, it’s really not that simple to say that this method is the BEST one. But yes, method 1 and 2 might seem easier to many than the other methods that we discussed in the write-up.

How to swap a single cell?

It’s not all that hard to execute really. All you have to do is drag and drop the cell on the desired location. Be it on a single column or a separate column, the task should get executed either way.

Is row swapping difficult?

Not at all. All you have to do is, follow the steps laid out in the column swapping methods on the rows of your excel sheet and they should work nicely.

Wrap Up

Well, I believe I’ve covered everything you should know about swapping columns in excel. But I’d advise you to practice each method for yourself to find out which one will prove to be just right for you. My experience has taught me, excel is better learned in practice than in theory.

So, that’s about all for now. Farewell.

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