Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Deleting Blank Columns.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 10, 2021)
When importing information from an external source, it is possible that the data will contain blank columns—columns with nothing in them. If you import a lot of data, then deleting these columns can be a bother. There are a couple of ways you can approach how to delete these columns.
The first approach works very well if your data is sorted by column. In other words, the data that you import is in ascending order, or you want it in sorted order. In this case, follow these steps:
Figure 1. The Sort Options dialog box.
When sorting in this manner, all the empty columns end up "pushed" to the right, and your data is in a sorted order.
If you don't want your data sorted, then you can use a nifty macro that will check for blank columns in a selected range and then delete those columns. The following macro will do the trick:
Sub DeleteEmptyColumns() first = Selection.Column last = Selection.Columns(Selection.Columns.Count).Column For i = last To first Step -1 If WorksheetFunction.CountBlank(ActiveSheet.Columns(i)) _ = ActiveSheet.Rows.Count Then Columns(i).Delete End If Next i End Sub
To use the macro, select the range of columns in which you want blank columns deleted. The macro steps through the columns and if the column is truly blank, it is deleted. You should note that this macro will delete only columns that are truly empty. If cells within a column include a formula that returns a zero value (and you have the display of zeros values turned off) or that returns an empty string, then the column isn't empty—it contains formulas. In this case, the column won't be deleted.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6149) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Deleting Blank Columns.
Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!
You can freeze information in rows or columns using one of the built-in features of Excel. As you move up or down in the ...Discover More
Excel provides a few ways that you can freeze or split what you see in your worksheet. The appropriateness of these tools ...Discover More
If someone sends you a worksheet that has lots of data in it, you might want to "spread out" the data so you can have ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.