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Microsoft Excel Can't insert new cells

Posted by: admin March 9, 2020 Leave a comment


I am receiving an error saying:

Microsoft Excel can’t insert new cells because it would push non empty cells off the end of the worksheet.

This happens when I try to insert a new row of data. I need to keep all of the data on the sheet I already have. I only have 56 rows, so I think I should be able to add more…

How to&Answers:

Excel has a limited number of rows and columns (which varies with version).

To find your last cell with data in it, click on any cell and then press Ctrl+End.
This will then take you to the furthest from A1 which has content. You’ll need to remove what is there to add extra rows.


I had the same.

Erased last columns and rows

Selected all cells from last used cell to the bottom, cleared content and cleared formatting and cleared rules.

Did not help immediately, but worked after a save and reopen.


My problem was that the sheet had Freeze Panes enabled. Clearing that cleared the issue.


To solve no enough Column scenario:

  1. Unmerge the rows(optional): If you have any entire row get merged, remove them, don’t do that. (many people stuck here)
    (It may stop you from doing the formatting track)
  2. Select unneeded columns: Select your first empty column(the leftmost one), jump to the end of the sheet using ctrl+shift+end to select all empty columns on the right till the last one.
  3. Clear formatting & content of selected cells: Do not use delete cells feature, as the Excel will re-generate the cells in the same format, that’s why it won’t work. Use the Clear button on the left of Sort & Filter instead. Use Clear all to clear both formatting and content of the cells, so they can be treat as empty cells afterwards.

For no enough Rows scenario:

  • It’s almost the same. 😛

It would do the trick. Hope this may help.


This happened to me some time ago as well, so when I stumbled across this question I thought I might share my experience.

Approach #1: Deleting rows and columns

As Matt B mentions in his answer, the first thing to try is to delete the columns which are taking up place.

Let us assume that your data uses columns A to T and rows 1 to 20.

First off, select cell U1 and press CTRL+SHIFT+RIGHT to mark all cells from T1 to XFD1 (the right-most column Excel can display). Right-click any cell, choose “Delete” and “Entire column”. Now you have gotten rid of the columns.

Next, select cell A21 and press CTRL+SHIFT+DOWN to mark all cells from A21 to A1048576 (the highest row number Excel displays). Right-click any cell, choose “Delete” and “Entire row”. This will remove the rows.

Now it should work, as you have gotten rid of all excess columns and row.

Approach #2: using VBA

When I encountered this issue, the above solution did not work for me. However, I eventually found a solution that did work.

  1. Right-click the sheet that is causing problems.
  2. Choose “View Code”
  3. Press CTRL+G to open box “Immediate”
  4. Type in ActiveSheet.UsedRange. This will force Excel to “drop” all cells not currently in use, thus freeing up the space you need to create new columns or rows.

I hope this helps you or any other soul out there desperate to create new rows or columns in Excel.


I had a sheet with data apparently contained in A1:G4000 that gave this error, trying to insert ROWS within that range.

ctrl-end took me to IV65536 !

So I deleted the entire range of ROWS from 4001-65536 (Cells / Delete Sheet Rows in Office 365).

This had no effect and I still couldn’t insert ROWS. Repeated three times to make completely sure I’d done it right. No joy and ctrl-end still took me to IV65536 !

Running out of ideas, I deleted COLUMNS H to IV.

ROWS will now insert.

Baffled as to what is going on… but may be worth trying if you get this error.

My only guess is that some invisible whole-column formatting may have been applied that went down to row 65535 and was re-instated after the rows were deleted.


Excel has limitation per version so please make sure you check your file extension, example:

  • XLS for excel 97-2003
  • XLSX for more recent 2007, 2013, 2016

Sometimes, we forget to check this even you use Excel 2016, the alert still see.

This would remind you to check first.


I selected the last column and then CTRL+SHIFT+RIGHT to select all the cells to the right. And then Clear all (button to the right of Home->Format) to clear both formatting and content of the cells. This was the only solution that then allowed me to perform a column insert.


I had the same problem and tried everything suggested above. Nothing worked. But I did the following, which fixed the problem immediately:

  • Unmerged two columns: The two were merged purely for esthetic reasons, so unmerging them had no substantive effect on my data and it worked like a charm.
  • This might mean that you have to look through your worksheet to find the offending column/row, but it’s worth it.

Good luck!


This happens also when you have in the excel sheet merged all cells in one row (then it is not possible to add another column) or you have merged all cells in one column (then it is not possible to add row).

Removing the merged row/column will enable again adding new columns/rows.