How to Insert Rows in MS Excel Using Windows Keyboard

Chaitanya Tapase

Ah, Microsoft Excel. That one tool that got me excited to use because it had all these “cool features” like auto summation and “vlookup” which would help me with my daily tasks. Things were quite different back then, Google Docs was still not a thing and there was no clear end-user company focused on cloud computing.

Don't stress while using Excel | Shutterstock
Don’t stress while using Excel | Shutterstock

But as the old adage goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Even though Microsoft’s Office 365 is a great tool, I still can’t help but stick to older versions because I don’t see the need to invest to much for syncing some important documents. The day I feel it’ll become important to me, though, I’ll do it in a heartbeat.

In the interim, let’s talk about MS Excel. Specifically about inserting rows using keyboard shortcuts. Especially if you want to keep doing it over and over and not just once or twice. There are a few different ways to accomplish this, so let’s look at them.

Method 1

If you work with a lot of text (like I do, because you know, writer!) then you’re probably used to holding down the Shift key and selecting text. This method of inserting rows will work for people like me, because of the familiarity of selecting text while holding Shift feels more natural.

All you have to do is select any column above which the row(s) needs to be inserted. Now hold down the Shift + Spacebar key at the same time, which will select the entire row. After which hit Ctrl, Shift and “+” key at the same time to insert a row above. Holding down Ctrl and Shift and then pressing the “+” key will keep adding multiple rows.

Keyboard shortcut Excel

Note: To undo any incorrect additions you ought to stick to Ctrl + Z, rather than other Excel shortcuts. Especially if formatting of any kind is involved in your spreadsheets.

Another way this can be implemented is by pressing Shift + Spacebar to select the row and then hitting the ‘right-click key’ present on most Windows keyboard. You can then hit I (for insert) and then keep tapping the R key (for rows) to add as many rows as you want.

In case you didn't know, this key acts as right-click.
In case you didn’t know, this key acts as right-click.

Method 2

This method is only a slight variant of the above. While holding down Ctrl and Shift at the same time, you hit the + key and accept the Shift cells down (selected by default) by hitting Enter. The disadvantage, of course, is that you can’t do this for multiple rows as easily as the previous method.

Insert options for Excel

Method 3

If you wish to insert only one row but at different places throughout your spreadsheet, you might as well use the shortcut Alt + I. This will give you options to either insert rows (by pressing the R key) above the current selection of cell, or even columns (by pressing the C key).

Inserting via Office Shortcut

Method 4

This particular method will work for any version of MS Office that supports the quick access toolbar. When you click on the ‘Insert’ tab and then right-click the first option you see is Add to Quick Access Toolbar, then you’re in luck. This has to be done only once and then all you have to do is hit the shortcut keys Alt + 4 (if you haven’t added anything else to the toolbar already) to keep adding rows.

Insert shortcut for excel

Shortcut Ninjas, Unite

We’d love to hear if these keyboard shortcuts are helpful to you. Or if there are more things that we need to cover besides Microsoft Office and the ilk. Join us in our forums and let’s take the discussion further.

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Chaitanya Tapase has varied interests in Technology from Android to Windows to DSLR Photography. On weekends, you'd find him catching up on TV Shows like Game of Thrones and enjoying House Music.