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: Default Cell Movement when Deleting.

Default Cell Movement when Deleting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 7, 2018)

When you select a number of cells (not entire rows or columns) and then choose to delete those cells, there are two directions that remaining cells can move: to the left or up. If the selected cells include fewer rows than columns, then Excel offers to move the remaining cells to the left. In all other situations (the number of rows is greater than or equal to the number of columns), then Excel offers to move the remaining cells up, by default.

You may not want to move the remaining cells according to Excel's assumptions; you may want to always move the remaining cells in one particular direction. There are two ways you can go about making this happen. The first is to simply memorize the keystrokes required to always move remaining cells in the desired direction. If you want to always move cells left, you would use the keystrokes Alt, H, D, D, L, Enter. Similarly, if you want to move cells up, just press Alt, H, D, D, U, Enter. If you memorize the keystrokes, you can enter them very quickly and achieve the desired results.

If you are a "mouse person," you may want to create a couple of macros that achieve the desired effect, and then assign those macros to shortcut keys that can pull them up quickly. The following macro will delete the selected cells and shift the remaining cells to the left:

Sub DeleteShiftLeft()
    Selection.Delete xlShiftToLeft
End Sub

With one small change, the macro can shift the remaining cells up:

Sub DeleteShiftUp()
    Selection.Delete xlShiftUp
End Sub

The only drawback to remember about using a macro is that when you invoke any macro, Excel clears the Undo stack. Whereas you could undo a deletion if you used the menus or keyboard, if you use a macro, you cannot undo it or any edits you did before the deletion.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12640) 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: Default Cell Movement when Deleting.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Creating a Log/Log Chart

If you need to create a chart that uses logarithmic values on both axes, it can be confusing how to get what you want. ...

Discover More

Jumping to a Relative Line Number

As you navigate through a document, you may have a need to move forward or backward a specific number of lines. This is ...

Discover More

Printing Non-Printing Characters

Serious users of Word often display non-printing characters on-screen so they can see them easier. If you want those ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Viewing Your Work Full-Screen

Want to use the maximum space possible for displaying information on screen? You'll want to learn how to use the ...

Discover More

Copying Cells to Fill a Range

Excel provides two really helpful shortcuts you can use to fill a range of cells, either horizontally or vertically. ...

Discover More

Not Enough Resources to Delete Rows and Columns

Few things are as frustrating as trying to delete rows or columns and having Excel tell you that you can't perform the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine less than 9?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.