Swapping contents

If you have been working with Excel for a while, you’ll likely have run into a situation in which you would need to swap the contents of two adjacent cells or ranges. Mostly, this might be due to the data not being correctly entered or just to reorder the columns.

If this is something you have run into, then it’s also likely that you have either swapped the contents manually or added a new column, cut and paste the data from the first column to the new column, and then deleted the blank column in order for the data to be where you want it to be.

Considering this, wouldn’t it be useful to have a less time-consuming way to adjust the location of data, especially for a large dataset? Luckily, there is, it just takes a few tries to get the hang of it.

How to swap

To swap data in adjacent cells or ranges, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or range you want to swap.
  2. Move the cursor to the right border of the selected area until it changes from a regular cross to a 4-sided arrow.
  3. Press and hold down Shift and drag the selection to the right border of the next cell or range.
  4. Release the mouse when the "工" sign is displayed and then release Shift.

The animation below shows these steps in action. Pay close attention to the change the cursor undergoes to see when swapping the data is possible.

GIF: Swapping of cell range with another in Excel

Swap for perfection

This swapping technique has the potential to really save you some time when working with large amounts of data, though you’ll need to practice it a bit before you can say as such. So, apply a few times for practice and watch as your efficiency and productivity in Excel increase.

There are so many useful functions and tools you can use in Excel to ensure that your data is structured correctly. However, they aren’t always that easy to find. So, sign-up at 5miles for a free two-week trial and become an Excel insider today