Working with tables is an essential part of creating professional documents. Whether you’re making a budget, planning a schedule, or organizing data, Google Docs makes it simple to create tables and customize them to suit your needs. One of the handiest customizations is adding or removing columns.
When You Might Need to Add or Delete Columns
There are a few common situations when you may need to add or remove columns in a Google Docs table:
- If you realize you forgot to include a crucial data point after already creating your table
- If you need to add more categories or fields to organize information
- When expanding the scope of your budget, schedule, or other planning document
- To add columns for calculations, like sums or percentages
- If you initially included a column you decided you don’t need
- To consolidate data that works better in fewer columns
- If you have blank columns you want to remove to streamline your table
- To delete columns used for interim calculations that are no longer needed
The ability to easily insert and delete columns makes it simple to evolve your table as your needs change.
How to Add Columns in Google Docs Tables
Adding columns in Google Docs is a snap, with just a few clicks. Here are the steps:
- Click anywhere within the table where you want to add the new column. This selects the table so you can customize it.
- Click the “Insert” menu at the top of the document.
- Select “Column to the left” or “Column to the right” depending on where you want the new column inserted.
And that’s it! The new blank column will be added, ready for you to fill in.
Pro Tip: To add multiple columns at once, select “Insert > Table > Insert Columns” instead. This opens a window where you can enter the number of columns to add.
How to Delete Columns in Google Docs Tables
Removing columns is just as simple:
- Click within the column you want to delete to select it. To delete multiple columns, click-drag to select them.
- Click the “Delete” key on your keyboard.
The selected column(s) will vanish. Any data in deleted columns can’t be recovered, so double check before deleting!
An alternate method is using the right-click menu:
- Right-click within the column to delete.
- Select “Delete column” from the pop-up menu.
This menu option lets you delete a single column at a time.
Tips for Managing Google Docs Tables
Here are some handy tips for adding, deleting, and managing table columns in Google Docs:
- Add columns anywhere: Columns don’t have to be added only on the end. Insert them wherever needed in your table.
- Use keyboard shortcuts: Once a column is selected, Ctrl + Alt + = (Windows) or ⌘ + Option + = (Mac) inserts a new column. Ctrl + Alt + – (Windows) or ⌘ + Option + – (Mac) deletes selected columns.
- Drag to adjust width: Click and drag the vertical borders between column headings to adjust their width.
- Use formulas: Insert a column and use formulas like =Sum() or =Average() to calculate data from other columns.
- Format evenly: Right-click the table and select “Distribute columns evenly” to space all columns to equal widths.
- Sort columns: Click the column header and select “Sort sheet A → Z” or “Sort sheet Z → A” to sort table data by that column.
- Freeze columns: Right-click a column and choose “Freeze” to lock it as the first column. This keeps it visible when scrolling horizontally through wide tables.
With those tips in your toolbox, you’ll be a table editing expert in Google Docs! Adding or removing columns is a cinch.
Common Questions about Editing Google Doc Tables
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about modifying Google Docs tables:
How do I add rows in Google Docs tables?
Just like columns, click within the table and select “Insert > Row above” or “Insert > Row below” from the menu. Or right-click the table and choose “Insert row above/below” from the menu.
Can I insert a column in the middle of a table?
Absolutely! New columns can be placed anywhere in a table. Click within the column where you want the new column inserted, then add it.
What if I delete a column by accident?
Unfortunately there is no Undo option after deleting a column. But if you immediately close the document without saving, then reopen it, the deleted column will still be there.
Can I customize column widths by pixels?
Columns can only be adjusted by dragging their borders. There is no way to set an exact width. But you can distribute all columns evenly in one click.
How do I customize column header text formatting?
Select the header row cells and use the formatting toolbar to customize the font, alignment, color, background, and other text formatting.