Default Cell Movement when Deleting

When you select a number of cells (not entire rows or columns) and then choose to delete those cells, there are two directions that remaining cells can move: to the left or up. If the selected cells include fewer rows than columns, then Excel offers to move the remaining cells to the left. In all other situations (the number of rows is greater than or equal to the number of columns), then Excel offers to move the remaining cells up, by default.

You may not want to move the remaining cells according to Excel’s assumptions; you may want to always move the remaining cells in one particular direction. There are two ways you can go about making this happen. The first is to simply memorize the keystrokes required to always move remaining cells in the desired direction. If you want to always move cells left, you would use the keystrokes Alt, H, D, D, L, Enter. Similarly, if you want to move cells up, just press Alt, H, D, D, U, Enter. If you memorize the keystrokes, you can enter them very quickly and achieve the desired results.

If you are a “mouse person,” you may want to create a couple of macros that achieve the desired effect, and then assign those macros to shortcut keys that can pull them up quickly. The following macro will delete the selected cells and shift the remaining cells to the left:

Sub DeleteShiftLeft()
    Selection.Delete xlShiftToLeft
End Sub

With one small change, the macro can shift the remaining cells up:

Sub DeleteShiftUp()
    Selection.Delete xlShiftUp
End Sub

The only drawback to remember about using a macro is that when you invoke any macro, Excel clears the Undo stack. Whereas you could undo a deletion if you used the menus or keyboard, if you use a macro, you cannot undo it or any edits you did before the deletion.