How to Swap Two Adjacent Cells in Excel (2 Ways)

Shortcuts are the key to being productive in Microsoft Excel. People are always looking for more efficient ways to do things.

Being able to swap two adjacent cells in a spreadsheet might seem like something you won’t need to do often but if you can perform seemingly small everyday tasks more efficiently, you’d be surprised how much time you can save!

Keep in mind that the cells in the following examples are all adjacent. They’re all “touching”.

Here are two ways to swap cells in Microsoft Excel.

1) Swapping Two Cells Using the Mouse and Keyboard

In this example, the information in cells A5:B5 has been entered incorrectly. We need to swap the two cells in order to display the data in a way that’s consistent with the other rows.

Swapping two cells example

Here is how to swap two cells using the mouse and keyboard.

  1. Click to select cell A5.
  2. Position your cursor over the border of the selected cell.
  3. Hold the Shift button while you drag the cell to the right.
  4. Let go of the mouse button when Excel’s “I-beam” tool is between B5:C5.
Excel "I-beam" tool

The screenshot (below) shows the cells after they have been transposed.

Worksheet with cells swapped

2) Swapping Two Cells Using Keyboard Shortcuts

If you prefer using keyboard shortcuts, this method will appeal to you. Let’s work through the same example with an emphasis on using keyboard shortcuts.

In order for this technique to work, you have to start by selecting the cell on the right.

  1. Click to select cell B5.
  2. Press Ctrl + X to copy the value to the clipboard.
  3. Select cell A5.
  4. Press Ctrl + Shift + = (equals sign).

Swapping Ranges of Cells

In addition to transposing pairs of cells, both of the techniques outlined in this article also work with ranges of cells. Instead of selecting a single cell you’d drag to select multiple cells.

Swapping a range of cells

If you want to swap an entire column of data, check out this article on how to swap columns in Excel.

By Michael Belfry

Working as a full-time training consultant, Michael provides Microsoft Office courses to government and private sector clients across Canada.