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Ensuring Rows and Columns are Empty

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

It is a well-known fact that if you delete a row or column, Excel dutifully does your bidding, removing whatever was in that row or column. This means that it is easy to delete rows or columns you think are blank, which in fact contain information you cannot see on the screen.

So how do you tell if there is any data without scrolling through the gazillion rows and columns in your worksheet? There is a quick way you can check for data in a row or column. To check a column, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the first cell of the column (A1, H1, etc.).
  2. Press the End key once. The characters END should appear at the right side of the status bar.
  3. Press the down arrow if checking out a column or the right arrow if checking out a row.

If you prefer, you can accomplish this same task using only two steps:

  1. Click on the first cell of the column (A1, H1, etc.)
  2. Hold down the Ctrl key as you press the down arrow or right arrow.

Performing these simple steps causes Excel to move to the next cell containing data. If there is no data, Excel selects the last cell in the column (at row 66,536) or the last cell in the row (at column IV). You then know that the row or column is empty and you can safely delete it.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2111) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Ensuring Rows and Columns are Empty.

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Comments for this tip:

Thomas Papavasiliou    01 Sep 2012, 07:03
Attention, as hidden row or columns that may contain data are ignored and you may end up with some unpredictable results.

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