If you are a keyboard ninja, then you hate having to move your hands from the keyboard for any reason unless there is no other option. Today’s SuperUser Q&A post provides multiple ways to help a frustrated reader keep his hands on the keyboard while using Microsoft Excel.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

The Question

SuperUser reader jstricker wants to know how to insert new rows in Excel using a keyboard instead of a mouse:

Right-clicking on a row and selecting insert is fairly time consuming. I would rather not have to take my hands off the keyboard. How can I insert a new row above my current row using only the keyboard? I am primarily interested in inserting a single row at a time, but would also be interested in answers that address inserting multiple rows at a time.

Is there an easy way to insert new rows in Excel using a keyboard?

The Answer

SuperUser contributors jstricker, ATG, KRyan, BillOer, and assylias have the answer for us. First up, jstricker:

There are two options that I am aware of and both (unfortunately) require two steps.

Option 1

  1. With a single cell selected, hit Shift + Space to select the row.
  2. Hit Control + Shift + + (Plus Sign) to insert a row above the current row.

Option 2

  1. With a single cell selected, hit Control + Shift + + (Plus Sign) to insert a row.
  2. Hit Enter to accept the default of Shift Cells Down.

If inserting many rows at once, I think the first option is the best since you can repeat the second step without having to re-select the row.

Followed by the answer from ATG:

The following keyboard shortcut will insert one row above the active cell’s row:

Press Alt + I (Insert), then press R (Row).

On personal computers, use the Keyboard Right-Click Key to emulate a right-click on the current selection.

Additional note from ATG: Substituting C for R will insert a new column.

Then the answer from KRyan:

It is worth noting that this is a sequence, not necessarily keys to be pressed simultaneously (see answer from ATG above). You can type Alt, then I, then R and get the same effect.

Followed by the answer from BillOer:

You can also select multiple rows and then right-click to insert rows, or you can insert one row and then use Ctrl + Y as many times as you need to insert rows. If you format your spreadsheet as a table, you do not even need to worry about copying your formulas.

And our final answer from assylias:

On Windows I use:

  1. Shift + Space to select the current row.
  2. Keyboard Right-Click Key + I to insert a row.

(*) The Keyboard Right-Click Key looks like this:

Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Akemi Iwaya
Akemi Iwaya has been part of the How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media team since 2009. She has previously written under the pen name "Asian Angel" and was a Lifehacker intern before joining How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media. She has been quoted as an authoritative source by ZDNet Worldwide.
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