Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Quickly Deleting Rows and Columns.

Quickly Deleting Rows and Columns

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 4, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


You probably already know how to completely delete rows or columns by using the tools on the ribbon. Excel provides an even quicker way to delete rows or columns, however. All you need to do is select the row or column that you want to delete, and then press Ctrl+- (that's Ctrl and the minus sign at the same time). Excel removes the row or column from your worksheet, as directed.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12424) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Quickly Deleting Rows and Columns.

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 nine more than 7?

2023-03-07 04:22:42


I probably should have mentioned in my original message that I do not like using keyboard shortcuts. This is mainly because I cannot remember them, especially when they may be unique to a particular program. It is just too confusing.

I do use Ctrl+ p (for print) or c (for copy) or v (for paste) since these seem to be universal for many applications.

The only 'unique' Excel keyboard shortcuts that I find useful are Ctrl+; (semicolon) for the current date and Ctrl+: (colon) for the current time.

2023-03-06 21:25:49


Hi Allen,

The Deleting Rows and columns keyboard short cut (Cntl -) will become one of my favourite (Australian spelling :-)

The corollary to deleting rows and columns via this short cut is ADDING the same using Cntl Shift +

I have enjoyed Excel Tips for many years, and still do in retirement.

Thank you so much, keep up the good work.

John L. (the Aussie and Excel addict)

2023-03-06 06:31:50

Alex Blakenburg

If don't already have your hands on the mouse and you don't want to select the row using the mouse, then the full sequence is either:
• Ctrl+- followed by "r" followed by <enter>
• Shift+<Spacebar> followed by Ctrl+-
(Where Shift+<Spacebar> selects the row, Ctrl+<Spacebar> to select a column.)

2023-03-04 19:02:51


There is nothing wrong with your method. It is a question of personal preference: two clicks vs. single keystroke.

2023-03-04 05:48:41


What is wrong with the easiest method ?

1) Select the entire row or column.
2) Right click and then choose 'Delete'.

The right click method also gives other options - add row/column, clear contents, etc.

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