Turning Off the Insert Column and Insert Row Tools

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 5, 2014)

10

Gary notes that as he works in a table and moves the mouse pointer above a line dividing two columns or to the left of a line separating two rows, he sees a "circled plus sign" appear, indicating that he can click to insert a column or row. Gary finds this feature to be distracting and more trouble than it is worth, so he wonders if it is possible to turn it off.

The Insert Column and Insert Row tools are a recent addition to Word, having first made their appearance in Word 2013. You can see the tools when, as Gary said, you move the mouse pointer above a column divider or to the left of a row divider. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Insert Column tool.

If you click on the plus sign, then Word dutifully adds either a column or row, as appropriate for the tool. For some people—like Gary—the tool is a bother, as it can be a bit confusing where to actually click to get the results you want. For instance, you may be trying to change the width of columns or height of rows by dragging the dividing lines, but if you click at the wrong time you end up actually adding an unwanted column or row.

Unfortunately, there is no way that I can find to disable these tools. The addition of the tools did complicate some traditional table operations (as in the width and height changes), which means that a user now has to be a little more careful in watching where they click. (Or double-checking before actually clicking.) It is, for instance, possible to still be pointing inside the tool's plus sign and have the mouse pointer change to show you are going to select a column or row. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Insert Column tool can be very picky when it comes to mouse pointer location.

Despite these potential "gotchas," there is no way to turn off the tools. (Let the user beware.) Perhaps Microsoft will make a change in the future, but at this point such a change would be mere speculation.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13154) applies to Microsoft Word 2013.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Cleaning Text

You can use the CLEAN worksheet function to remove any non-printable characters from a cell. This can come in handy when ...

Discover More

Table Header Rows after a Manual Page Break

Insert a manual page break into the middle of a table, and you may find that subsequent pages of the table don't always ...

Discover More

Setting the Right Indent of a Paragraph in a Macro

Need to format your document using a macro? You can easily set the right margin for an individual paragraph by using the ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Transposing Table Contents

When you transpose information, it is essentially "rotated" in a direction. If you transpose the information in a table, ...

Discover More

Moving Rows and Columns with the Mouse

Like to use the mouse to help you with your document editing? You can move table rows and column with the mouse by using ...

Discover More

Pulling Tables Back Into View

If you make structural changes to your table by adding new columns here and there, you could easily end up with a table ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 8?

2017-12-12 09:50:02

Andrew

@elektrokitty

Added in 2016, I believe. For those of us still with earlier versions: tough noogies!


2017-12-11 14:35:06

elektrokitty

I found the option to disable this as it was driving me insane as well.
File > Options > Advanced > under Display, uncheck 'Show pop-up buttons for adding rows and columns in tables'
The end, now you can sleep better at night.


2017-07-31 13:38:41

Dawn

Have you ever seen here the one click insert disappears? I have a colleague who will try to add a row or column using the Insert Column/Insert Row, but it does not appear--only in some rows/columns when he hoovers over the edge of it. any thoughts?


2017-01-25 09:28:29

Disgruntled

Once again, Microsoft decreases the value of their product with an "upgrade".


2016-04-20 15:32:32

csh

I had this same question and couldn't find an answer. The tool seemed to be there (or not) randomly.
I finally figured out that the plus sign tool will appear if your cursor is clicked in a cell of the table. It does NOT appear if your cursor is outside the table. Viola!


2015-12-08 13:42:32

Ross K

I find this feature highly annoying. I really want a way to turn it off.
I append rows to the bottom of a table, or right click insert if I want to add rows.
I really would like a way to turn this "feature" off.
The dominate user action for tables is not to add rows in the middle, but to enter information and set formatting.


2015-06-09 00:36:39

brandi

I could REALLY use this as well!


2015-04-21 11:20:38

C Scott

The Insert Column/Row Tool appears to be disabled when working in Draft View.

That's not an overall fix, but it might help some.


2015-04-02 08:01:22

Bernadette

Hello

I am extremely keen to find a way of turning of that tool too, so maybe someone else out there has figured it out?
Please.


2015-02-24 10:39:58

Michelle Allegretti

Hello,

FYI - I had this feature and now it's off. I use a lot of keyboard keystrokes so I'm not sure how I turned it off. I found your site looking for a way to turn it back on so I can demo it. So - there is some way to turn it off.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.