Setting a Default for Shifting when Inserting

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 7, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


3

When Col inserts cells into a worksheet (not rows, but cells), the process seems to take longer than it should because he always has to check to see if Excel will shift the displaced cells down or to the right. He always wants the cells to be shifted downward, so he is wondering if there is a way to make "shift down" the default.

As Col implied, when you choose some cells and the use the Insert Cells command, Excel displays a dialog box where you can indicate how you want the displaced cells shifted. This process can, indeed, seem to take quite a while if all you ever want to do is shift down when you insert. Unfortunately, there is no way to change the default in Excel.

The solution is to use a macro to do your inserting. It doesn't need to be a long one; for instance, the following will shift cells down when inserting:

Sub ShiftDown()
    Selection.Insert Shift:=xlDown
End Sub

Assign the macro to the Quick Access Toolbar or to a shortcut key, and you can easily shift cells down as you insert. All you need to do is to select the cells (or, indeed, entire rows) and then use the macro. If you want to create variations of the macro that always shift in different directions, all you need to do is change xlDown to xlUp, xlLeft, or xlRight.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (4078) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is 2 + 5?

2022-06-01 00:43:58

Peter

Insert Copied Cells has the same problem.
Of interest, is that once the cells are copied and the target selected, you can use the suggested macro and the cells are pasted without an explicit step.

John Fong, I also lament the passing of the predictive capability because I nearly always want to insert cells & shift down


2022-05-31 15:05:27

J. Woolley

The description of this Tip's macro is not quite correct. The Range object's Insert method has a Shift parameter as indicated, but the only acceptable values for Shift are xlShiftDown (-4121, same as xlDown) or xlShiftToRight (-4161, same as xlToRight). The Tip suggests using xlUp, xlLeft, or xlRight, but each will result in an error.


2022-05-30 14:11:22

John Fong

Thank you for this helpful tip.

The older versions of Excel had a smart feature that predicted whether I wanted to shift cells down or right. For example, if I selected a range 4 columns wide and 1 row deep, it predicted I wanted to shift cells down and have that option preselected. If my selection was 4 rows deep and 1 column wide, it would preselect shift cells right. It seems Excel 365 has gotten dumber because it preselects shift cells right all the time? And there is no way to change that?


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