Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Copying Rows and Columns with the Mouse.

Copying Rows and Columns with the Mouse

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 19, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


In the previous tip you learned that you can move rows and columns by using the mouse. You can also use a very similar technique to quickly copy rows and columns. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Select the entire row or column that you want to move.
  2. Hold down the Ctrl key as you click on the highlighted row or column. Make sure you hold down the mouse button, as well. Shortly the pointer should change to a "ghost" insertion point with a small box next to the pointer arrow.
  3. While still holding down the Ctrl key, drag the row or column to the place where you want it to be. You should position the insertion point in the row or column before which your copied row or column will appear.
  4. Release the mouse button. The row or column is copied to that location.

There is something interesting about copying rows and columns in this manner: you can also "extend" the boundaries of your table. Granted, adding new rows or columns by copying them can, on its own, be viewed as extending the boundaries. However, let's say you have five rows in your table, and you are copying one column using the mouse. If you release the column (step 4) in any place other than the first row, the number of rows in your table is increased and the column is pasted in an "offset" manner. For instance, in your five-row table, if you release the column in row three, the copied column is pasted beginning at row three and extending downward five rows, which means you effectively add two new rows to your table, besides the expected new (copied) column.

You might think the same "extension" would happen if you were moving rows. In a sense it does, but with one important difference. If you release the row in some place other than the first column, the new (copied) row extends past the right edge of the existing table—and only that row. With columns, all the columns are extended into the new rows. With rows, only a single row is extended.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9656) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Copying Rows and Columns with the Mouse.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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