Google Sheets – Controlling Rows & Columns-Part 1

In previous posts I’ve looked at modifying the contents of the cells, now let’s look at various ways you can modify the rows and columns on your sheet.

Part 1 (this post)

  • Changing the row size of rows and columns (to fit data / manually / enter size)
  • Selecting a whole row or column
  • Inserting a row or column
  • Deleting a row or column

Part 2 (next post)

  • Selecting multiple rows/columns
  • Deleting unwanted rows & columns
  • Hiding rows and columns
  • Freezing rows and columns

Changing row size of rows and columns

Here I have a set of data, the number of goals scored by some players in a team.

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By default, the column size is 100, but I’d like to make the table smaller, as at the moment I think it’s a bit too wide. There are 3 main ways to change row or column size:

  1. Double clicking on the edge of it so it fits the size of the data in the cells
  2. Manually change the size of the row or column by dragging it
  3. Typing in the specific size you want

Changing size to fit

I want to reduce the width of column A to it’s the width of the longest word (e.g. Total).

Go to the right-hand side of the column A block where it meets column B. Your cursor will change to a little arrow pointing to the right.  Double-click here.

Sheets5 - 2     Sheets5 - 3

This changes the column width to the size of the longest piece of data in that column.

By the way, I’ve had to take photos of the screens to be able to show you the cursor changes, hence why they are a little dark.

Manually changing the size of the column

In column H I want to reduce the width but I want to control the width I want.

So, similar to above, go to in between column H and column I, and when your cursor changes to a little right-facing arrow, hold down the mouse button, a long vertical line will appear and drag this to the left (or to the right to make it bigger) and let go of the mouse button when you get to the size you want.

Sheets5 - 4  Sheets5 - 5   Sheets5 - 6

Typing in the specific size you want

Sometimes you want an exact size to your column width or you may just want all your selected columns to be the exact same size. Let’s change that last Total column again.

Either right click in the middle of column H, or slightly to the right of the column H header, you will see a triangle, if you left-click that it will bring up the same menu as right-clicking. It’s personal preference which you use.

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Now, click “Resize column”.

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Enter the figure you want, e.g. 80.

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You can do exactly the same for rows, but this time to resize to fit or manually change a row, click on the border between the row and the row below (an upwards-facing arrow will appear).


 Selecting the whole row or column

Click on the middle of the row or column label to select the entire row or column.

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To select the whole page, click on the top left where the rows and columns meet, just under the formula bar “Fx”. This is useful for things like change the font or font size of everything on the page.

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Inserting a row or column

To add an extra row, select the whole row (as described above). Right click to bring up the menu and select “Insert above” or “Insert below”, which will do what it says, insert a row above the one selected or below it. In this example, Rox has joined the team, so I click on Jen’s row and choose “Insert 1 below”. Then I fill in her details.

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It’s the same process for inserting extra columns, but this time the options in the menu change to, “Insert left” or “Insert right”, to add an extra column to the left or right of the one selected. In this example, the team has played an extra game, so I’ve added that after Game 6, by clicking on the Game 6 column and then selecting “Insert 1 right”.

Sheets5 - 18 Sheets5 - 19    Sheets5 - 20


Deleting a row or column

Similar to above, to delete a row or a column, select the whole row or column, right click to bring up the menu and select “Delete row” or “Delete column”. Here I’ve deleted the Game 8 column.

Sheets5 - 21    Sheets5 - 22

See part 2 for more ways you can control your rows and columns.


eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sheet Functions:

Baz Roberts (Flipboard / Twitter / Google+)


One thought on “Google Sheets – Controlling Rows & Columns-Part 1

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