Sooner or later, most Excel users will set up a worksheet and enter tons of data, only to realize that the structure needs to be reversed: Rows should be columns and columns should be rows. For users who don’t know about Excel’s built-in feature for transposing data, this is a catastrophic realization — but you can teach your Excel students the simple, painless way to restructure their data, and they’ll remember you fondly for the rest of their professional lives. Here’s a simple example you can use to demonstrate how the feature works.

The scenario
Let’s suppose you’ve set up a range of sales data with column headings for the months of July through December and row headings identifying four sales regions (North, South, East, and West).

 We’ll use this range of data to demo Excel’s feature for reversing rows and columns.

1. Start by selecting all the cells that contain headings and data, then click the Copy button on the Standard toolbar.
2. Click in a cell that appears in the upper-left corner of the area where you want your transposed data to appear. Be sure to pick a blank area of your worksheet. Excel won’t let you paste the copied data in an area that already contains entries.
3. Choose Paste Special from the Edit menu, select the Transpose check box in the bottom-right corner of the Paste Special dialog box, and click OK. Excel will paste the copied data and transpose it for you. That is, the former column headings (months) will become row headings and row headings (regions) will become column headings.

 Using the Transpose option, we’ve reversed the structure of the data.

1. To complete the process, you can remove the original data from the worksheet so that you’re left with just the correctly arranged columns and rows. To do this, simply highlight the cells from your original range and choose Delete from the Edit menu. When Excel presents the Delete dialog box, select the option that’s appropriate for your data (Shift Cells Up, Entire Row, and so on). Click OK, and Excel will remove the cells containing your original data.