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How To Swap Two Rows in Google Sheets

Posted by Arch on June 20, 2019
How to Swap Two Rows in Google Sheets

Making tables in Google Sheets is easy and fun. The app is free and packs some serious firepower, being among the best online spreadsheet tools around.

However, you don’t need to use all of Google Sheets’ power to swap two rows in a column, especially if they’re next to each other. Let’s take a look at various ways to swap a pair of badly positioned rows in a Google Sheets table.

Drag and Drop

There are several easy ways to switch the places of two rows in a Google Sheets table. In this section, we’ll examine the easiest one – the drag and drop method. Have in mind that this method only works for adjacent rows and that you can’t swap two separated rows this way.

For the purposes of this and the other two sections, we’ll use a table of vital statistics for generic fantasy races. Our roster includes dwarves, elves, humans, orcs, ogres, and goblins. The initial table looks like this.

Table Start Positions

Let’s say that you’re not satisfied with the way playable races are ordered and you want to swap the places of the Ogre and Goblin rows. To do that, you’ll only need your mouse. Let’s see how it’s done.

  1. Left-click on the number six left of the Ogre cell. This way you’ll select the entire row.
  2. Left-click on it once more and hold the left mouse button down.
  3. Drag the entire Ogre row down one position. You will see a grey outline of the row as you move it.
  4. Release the left mouse button once the Ogre row is completely covering the Goblin row.

The table should now look something like this:

Drag Drop Result

Copy and Paste

The copy and paste method allows you more flexibility when it comes to swapping the rows. Instead of only adjacent rows, you can now swap any two rows you want. However, you won’t be able to swap them directly. Instead, you will have to copy one row outside the table.

For this section, we’ll take the table as it was at the end of the previous section. We’ve moved the Goblin row above the Ogre row, but let’s say we now want to swap the positions of the Goblin and Elf rows. Here’s how to do this using the Copy/Paste function of Google Sheets.

  1. Left-click on the number 3 next to the Elf field.
  2. Press the Ctrl and C keys on your keyboard together.
  3. Select a row outside the table. For this example, the 10th row will do just fine. Left-click on number 10.
  4. Press the Ctrl and V keys on your keyboard together. The result should look something like this.
    Copy Paste Copy a Row Outside
  5. Next, select the Goblin row.
  6. Press the Ctrl and C buttons on your keyboard together.
  7. Select the third row, the original row with the Elf statistics.
  8. Press the Ctrl and V buttons together. The end result should look like this.
    Copy Paste Final Result

There’s another way to use the Copy/Paste method. In this case, we’ll use the same starting point as in the first Copy/Paste method. Follow these steps.

  1. Right-click on the 3rd row, the Elf row.
  2. Select the Copy option from the drop-down menu.
  3. Right-click on the 10th row.
  4. Select the paste option.
  5. Right-click on the 6th row, the Goblin row.
  6. Select the Copy option.
  7. Right-click on the 3rd row, the Elf row.
  8. Select the Paste option.

The table should look exactly the same as in the last image.

Power Tools

Finally, Google Sheets lets you swap the table rows through Power Tools. Have in mind that the Power Tools option is not readily available and that you’ll have to add it to Google Sheets. Go here and click on the Free button to get the Power tools extension.

You will be prompted to select which of your Google accounts you want to add the extension to. Select the one you’re using to make and edit your sheets and tables. Then, select the components of your Google account you want to add it to. Make sure to check Google Sheets.

Once the installation is done, we’re ready to explore row swapping with Power Tools. Have in mind that this tool is recommended for users who need to sort and fix large numbers of tables on a regular basis. Nonetheless, here’s how to swap two rows in Google Sheets using Power Tools. In this example, we’ll try to swap the Elf and Dwarf rows.

  1. Press the Ctrl button and select the Dwarf row.
  2. Keep holding the Ctrl button and select the Elf row. The table should look like this.
    Power Tools Select Two Rows
  3. Click on the Add-ons tab in the Menu bar above the table.
  4. Click on the Power Tools option in the drop-down menu.
  5. Click on the Start button in the adjacent drop-down menu. Here’s what the Power Tools extension looks like.
    Power Tools Menu
  6. Click on the three little dots in the Menu bar.
  7. Select the Flip icon, the one on the right.
  8. Select the “Flip entire rows” option from the drop-down menu. The final result should look like this.
    Power Tools Final

Note: If you try swapping two rows that are not adjacent, Power Tools might not work. For swapping separated rows, it is best to rely on the good old copy/paste method.

Place Every Row Where It Belongs

Swapping the places of two misplaced rows in a Google Sheets table is a piece of cake. With the methods described in this write-up, you’ll sort your tables in a minute.

Do you use drag and drop copy/paste, or do you rely on Power tools? Are there any other ways to swap rows that we haven’t covered? Let us know in the comments below.

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