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 How to group adjacent columns or rows separately or independently in Excel?

As we all known, when you group adjacent columns or rows, such as grouping A and B, then group C and D, the normal Group function in Excel will collapse them into 1 group. How could you put them into separate groups as following screenshot shown?

doc group adjacent columns 1

Group adjacent two columns or rows separately with shortcut keys

Group adjacent multiple columns or rows separately by inserting blank columns or rows


Group adjacent two columns or rows separately with shortcut keys


The following shortcut keys may help you to create the separate groups for adjacent two columns or rows quickly and easily. Please do as follows:

1. Just select column A, and then hold Shift + Alt + Right arrow as following screenshot shown:

doc group adjacent columns 2

2. And the first two columns are grouped immediately, see screenshot:

doc group adjacent columns 3

3. And then you should select column C and press Shift + Alt + Right arrow keys to group column C and column D, and so on.

Note: The shortcut keys is also available for adjacent two rows.


Group adjacent multiple columns or rows separately by inserting blank columns or rows

The first method only applied to two adjacent columns or rows, if there are more than two columns or rows needed to be grouped, it will not work successfully.

To group multiple adjacent columns or rows independently, you should insert blank rows or columns first, and then apply the Group function. If you have Kutools for Excel, with its Insert Blank Rows & Columns feature, you can quickly insert multiple blank rows or columns at a specific interval.

Kutools for Excel : with more than 300 handy Excel add-ins, free to try with no limitation in 60 days. 

1. Select the data range and click Kutools > Insert > Insert Blank Row & Columns, see screenshot:

doc group adjacent columns 4

2. In the Insert Blank Rows & Columns dialog box, select the Blank rows or Blank columns under the Insert type that you want to insert, then from the Options section, enter the interval number that you want to insert blank rows or columns between, and then type the number of blank rows or columns that you want to insert, see screenshot:

doc group adjacent columns 5

3. Then click Ok button, the blank columns have been inserted between every 3 columns, see screenshot:

doc group adjacent columns 6

4. And then you can group the three columns one by one, please select the first three columns, and then click Data > Group > Group to group the first three columns, see screenshot:

doc group adjacent columns 7

5. Repeat the step 4 to group other columns one by one, at last, you will get the following result:

doc group adjacent columns 8


Demo: Group adjacent multiple columns or rows separately by inserting blank columns or rows

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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Maarten · 5 months ago
    The first option is nonsense as it only collapses one column, only the - symbol is above column B and d but these columns do NOT collapse at all.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Some Who is Annoyed · 11 months ago
    Agreed, this wasted a bunch of my time when I was almost fooled by it... until I collapsed my groups then I saw he had wasted my time
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Gary · 2 years ago
    This DOES NOT work.... This ONLY groups ONE column... if you go to hide the selection it will only hide ONE column not the second as well... All you have done is group ONE column.

    To make it even worse, you then proceed to debunk your consecutive grouping attempts by going into detail on how the grouping actually works in that you seam to have to have a blank cell next to the range you want to group.

    muppet!