How to Swap Columns with Transpose

Everyone looks at data in differently. Some people like having their dates (or names of people) at the top of the document. Others like the dates and the names of people to be on the left hand side. I fall into the latter when it comes to analyzing trends. My goal is to swap the columns at the top of the excel document with the axis of data points on the left hand side which are my KPI’s. In this blog post, I am going to show how to transpose this data in excel and how to move columns and rows in excel with a click of a button. All of this can be completed in less than 30 seconds. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Copy the Data

Within the document, you want to copy all the data that you want to switch around. As a quick tip, you can use a command that will select all the cells on the page that have data in it. To do this in Windows, you hit the CTRL + A button to select all the data. Once everything is selected, you will see everything highlighted in a light color, so you can do a quick eyeball check to see if everything is copied. If your document is very large, use the CTRL + Down Key and CTRL + Right Key to see if everything is selected.

If you are using a Mac, you can still use the quick commands by replacing the CTRL buttons with the Command button on your keyboard.

Step 2: Paste Special

With the data selected, you want to go to the cell that you eventually want to paste the data in. In this example, I went a few rows down and I am still using column A. With the data selected, you want to click on the paste special section. As a note, I am using Office 365, so my paste section might look different from what you see. Regardless, you want to look for the section that says special and click on that.

Paste Special In Excel

Step 3: Transpose Excel Feature

From here, you want to go to the transpose tool section and check that off. What the transpose function does is it acts as a lookup and reference formula that flips the X and Y axis of a document and categorizes the data so. After that is selected, you want to hit OK.

How to Transpose in Excel to Move Columns to Rows

Step 4: Paste and Set up a Filter

With the cell already selected in step 2, you are now presented with the data swapped with the rows and columns changed. With the data now transposed, you set up a filter at the top. You can do this with a quick command with a CTRL + SHIFT + Right Arrow. You should do this so you can view the data and change it based on the settings you need like setting up dates in alphabetical order, or sorting data from high to low. It’s also a good habit to do so you can view all of your data trends without mixing up different KPI’s.

Completed Transpose Effect in Excel


Moving columns and rows in excel is pretty simple. Another quick tip that you can do to save space is move the text at the top to go up and down instead of left to right. You can do this if you have long titles like I have in the excel document. To do this, you simply select the entire header and head over to the home tab. From the home tab, you want to look for the text that is in the alignment section. You will see a section that has a letter A and a letter B that is going up in an angle. Simply click on this section and change the format of the text to see if it works best for your document.