There may come a time when folks may attempt to insert columns in Excel, but the platform won’t allow it to happen. This can be a significant problem for those who use Excel and tend to add columns more often than not.
Now, there are many reasons why Excel is refusing to allow the user to add columns to a spreadsheet. But there is nothing to worry about because the problem can be fixed by one of several methods, and as expected, we will talk about them all today.
Unable to insert Columns in Excel
If you are unable to or cannot insert Columns with right-click in an Excel spreadsheet, then read the following to set things right again.
- Check if the spreadsheet is protected
- Add columns to protected spreadsheet
- Remove merge from rows
- Remove data from columns
- Unfreeze Excel panes.
How to insert Columns in Excel
1] Check if the spreadsheet is protected
Did you add protection to your Excel document recently? If that is the case, then you won’t be able to insert new columns until the spreadsheet is unprotected.
Let us explain how to accomplish this task in the easiest way possible.
- Open the Excel application, then launch into the affected spreadsheet.
- Click on the Home menu, and from there, select Format.
- Next, click on Unprotect Sheet, then enter the password you’ve added before.
- After the password has been added the spreadsheet becomes unprotected, you can make attempts to insert a column.
2] Add columns to protected spreadsheet
For those who do not wish to remove protection from the spreadsheet, well, there is a way to insert columns.
- After opening the Excel spreadsheet, please click the Home menu.
- From there, select the Format button via the Ribbon.
- A drop-down menu will appear right away.
- Select the Protect Sheet option, and from there, tick the box that reads Insert Columns.
- Hit the OK button after entering the required password.
- Add the password again to confirm.
As it stands right now, the spreadsheet is protected, but you are now able to add columns without a hitch.
3] Remove merge from rows
One of the reasons why you may be having problems could be due to merged rows. If you are a person who merged two entire rows together and tries to insert a column, Excel may not allow it to happen.
Let us explain how to unmerge rows so that you can get things back under control.
- Open the Excel application if you haven’t done so already.
- Do the same with the Excel spreadsheet that is being a nuisance.
- Go on ahead and highlight the merged rows.
- Click on Home, then select Merge & Center.
Right away, the cell will unmerge, so make attempts to insert columns again to see if things are back to normal.
4] Remove data from columns
From our experience, the inability to add new columns in an Excel spreadsheet may have much to do with the platform thinking it will delete some of your data. This tends to happen when Excel believes you’ve already entered the maximum allowed data in columns.
If you want to add another column, then you will have to delete information from columns you do not need.
Let us explain how to do this without taking away a lot of your time.
- Locate the column that is home to the data you wish to keep.
- From there, click on the label of the column situated to the right.
- Press and hold CTRL + SHIFT, then click the Right Arrow key.
- Once the above is done, all columns to the right of the column you’ve previously selected will be highlighted.
- Finally, right-click on any of the columns highlighted, then press the Delete button.
- All contents from these columns will be deleted forever.
- Click the Save button, then close the spreadsheet.
Bear in mind that failure to save the document will ensure the problem doesn’t go away.
5] Unfreeze Excel panes
In some cases, freezing panes can make it impossible for users to add more columns to a spreadsheet. Therefore, your best bet is to unfreeze the panes, and from there, attempt to add columns again.
- From within the document, please click on the View category.
- When the Ribbon appears, click on Freeze Panes, then select Unfreeze Panes from the drop-down menu.
- Try to add new columns to your document to see if this action is working smoothly as normal.
Why won’t my Excel spreadsheet let me insert a row?
Chances are your sheet might be having frozen panes, and that could cause you to not be able to insert rows. If this is the case, then please unfreeze the panes before making any attempt to add new rows.
Why is Excel not allowing me to insert columns?
Excel will not insert a column if it thinks every one of them contains at least one item. When you try to insert a column, Excel needs to drop the last column which may contain data deemed as valuable.