Keyboard Shortcuts for Inserting Rows

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 9, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


When Tim is working on a worksheet, he often needs to insert rows above whatever cell he has selected. He wonders if there is a keyboard shortcut to insert a new row above and, perhaps, a related shortcut to insert a row below.

Using the keyboard to insert rows above the current row is easy, and there are a couple of ways to do it. Longtime users of Excel will know that you can press Alt+I and then press the R key. This inserts a row directly above whatever cell you have currently selected. I mention longtime users of Excel because this key sequence was used way back, before the ribbon interface was introduced in Excel 2007. The sequence is maintained by Microsoft even in the latest versions of the program for compatibility reasons.

A newer approach is to first select the current row of cells (you can press Shift+Spacebar to do that) and then press Ctrl++ (that's the Ctrl key plus the + key). You can use the plus key on the numeric keypad, or you can include Shift in the sequence to get to the plus key on the regular keyboard. Either way, a full row is inserted above the row you selected to begin with.

Note that these shortcuts work a bit differently if you are working within a defined table. In that case, you don't need to select the current row first—pressing Ctrl++ will add a row above the current row in the table. If you want to affect a both the table and the cells outside the table, then you'll need to press Shift+Spacebar twice (first to select the row in the table and second to select the worksheet row outside the table) before using the insert row shortcut.

Inserting a row below the current one is a different story—Excel doesn't provide a shortcut for that. This means you have two possible workarounds. First, you can simply move down a row and then use one of the techniques already described. Second, you could create a macro to insert a row below:

Sub InsertRowBelow()
    Cells(ActiveCell.Row + 1, 1).EntireRow.Insert
End Sub

Note that the macro uses the .Insert method to add the entire row, but it is applied to the row below where the active cell is located. Thus, this single-line macro effectively does exactly what the first workaround does—moves down a row and inserts above.

If you create such a macro, you can assign it to a shortcut key so you then have your own shortcut for inserting a row below the current one.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8072) 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 3 + 4?

2023-12-12 03:05:28

Michael van der Riet

Now that Lotus and Borland are no longer existential threats to Microsoft you'd think that they'd re-enable the old / keyboard shortcuts.

While we're on that, is it possible in Excel to copy a formula à la Lotus that contains absolute addresses while deciding which addresses stayed absolute?

2023-12-11 13:28:09

Frank Moore

I just noticed that when I do that in a table with formulas, the formulas don't seem to adjust for the new inserted row. I have a table that I created to track the amount of snowfall at our house. The formula for the row above the inserted row is =C21+E20. C is the row where I enter the amount of snow fall for the day and E is the column for the total accumulated snow fall. The formula for E for the inserted row is correct =C22+E21 but the formula for the row below the inserted row is =C23+E21 instead of =C23+E22 and all the formulas in the cells for Total Snowfall (E) below the inserted rows are off by 1

2023-12-11 01:00:09


Sorry, that was not a keyboard shortcut, but interesting anyway. Peter

2023-12-11 00:58:20


I recently discovered that within a table, right click, insert, insert row below. ...Or something like that. (Using Excel 365)

2023-12-10 02:45:34

Frank Moore

I have wondered about this for several years. What a great tip! Thank you

2023-12-09 12:24:14

Jay Jacob Wind

Inserting a row below is trivial and requires no macro.
Just press <ENTER> to go down one row, and then you can use <ALT>+I+R

Jay Jacob Wind

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