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Moving a Table Column

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Moving a Table Column.

After creating a table to hold data in your document, you may have a need to reorganize the table. One common way of reorganizing is to move columns so that they are in a different order than they were originally. Here's the general process for moving columns:

  1. Select the column you want to move.
  2. Press Ctrl+X, click on the cut tool on the toolbar, or choose Cut from the Edit menu. This removes the column from the table and copies it to the Clipboard.
  3. Move the insertion point to the beginning of the top cell of the column before which you want to place the column you just cut.
  4. Press Ctrl+V, click on the paste tool on the toolbar, or choose Paste from the Edit menu.

It should be noted that the above steps don't work as expected if you have Track Changes turned on. If you do, then when you attempt step 2 you are told that if you continue, your edit will not be "tracked" (marked). You will then need to make a decision as to whether this is a "deal breaker" on the edit. For most people it probably isn't, since you are going to paste the column elsewhere.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1769) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Moving a Table Column.

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Comments for this tip:

Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry    23 May 2014, 17:20
Can't select a column unless every row has exactly the same column alignment.

Microsoft Word 2010 ver. 14
dannagrace    07 May 2013, 11:10
I have a table in an exercise with various cells in gray tone to identify which cell in a row the reader is to put their answer. I followed the instructions above. When I highlighted the column and hit ctrl+x, the column disappeared from the screen. I moved the cursor to where I wanted the column to go (to the right of the last column, next to the top cell) and hit ctrl+v. The column reappeared with the appropriate heading, but the gray cells were changed to mimic those in the column to the left of the moved cell. Why is that?

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