Excel Fix: Insert Column Option Greyed out (9 Solutions)

Get FREE Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions!

Inserting rows, columns, and cells is very common in Microsoft Excel. But, in various situations, we see that the Insert Column option is greyed out from Excel without any clue. We found 9 different reasons for this problem. We will show how to solve those problems and enable the Insert Column option.

Download Practice Workbook

Download this practice workbook to exercise while you are reading this article.

9 Ways to Enable a Greyed out Insert Column Option in Excel

1. Change Microsoft Excel AppData with Windows Run Feature

We can enable the greyed-out Insert Column by changing Excel’s AppData. We can access the AppData from the Windows Run command. Please follow the below steps for that.


  • First, close the Excel file.
  • Press the Windows key + R to enter the Run window.
  • Now, put %appdata%\Microsoft\Excel on the box named Then click OK.

Change Microsoft Excel AppData with Windows Run Feature to enable Insert Column option

  • We enter the file section of Microsoft Excel. Find out the xlb.
  • Modify the file extension to .old from the .xlb.

The Insert Column option will appear now.

Read More: Cannot Insert Column in Excel (All Possible Causes with Solutions)

2. Unprotect a Protected Workbook

When a workbook is protected then most of the features are disabled for the safety of that workbook. The Insert Column option is also greyed out due to this reason. If we need to insert new columns, we have to unprotect the Protected Workbook.


  • Go to the Review tab in the ribbon.
  • Click on the Protect Workbook option.

Unprotect a Protected Workbook to Solve Insert Column Problem

This workbook is not in protected mode, and the Insert Column option will be enabled now.

Read More: How to Insert a Column to the Left in Excel (6 Methods)

3. Unprotect a Protected Worksheet

When you protect an Excel worksheet, the Insert Column is disabled along with many other commands. To re-enable this button, just execute the following steps.


  • Go to the Review tab of the ribbon.
  • Choose the Unprotect Sheet option now.

Unprotect a Protected Worksheet

Insert Column is enabled now.

Read More: How to insert column in Excel (Quick 5 methods)

4. Select Column(s) before Inserting a New Column

When we need to insert new columns, we must select a column and then insert another new column(s). But, if we select a row and want to insert a column, then the Insert Column will be greyed out. Look at the below image. Here, we selected Row 4. Then went to the Insert option. We can see that the Insert Column option is greyed out here.

Select Column(s) before Inserting a New Column Solving Greyed Out problem

Read More: How to Insert a Column Between Every Other Column in Excel (3 Methods)

5. Exit from Cell Editing Mode

If we want to insert a new column, the cursor should not be in Cell Editing mode. If we are in Cell Editing mode, we should escape from the editing mode by pressing the Esc button. Then, the Insert Column option will be enabled.

Exit from Cell Editing Mode to Insert Column

6. Change Display Options Settings to Enable Insert Columns

We can enable the Insert Column option from the Display Options settings.


  • Enter the Excel Options from File > Options. Or we can press Alt+F+T.
  • Select the Advanced option from the left side.
  • Go to Display options for this workbook: section.
  • Choose the All option, then click OK.

Read More: Shortcuts to Insert Column in Excel (4 Easiest Ways)

7. Fix Greyed out Insert Column Option in Shared Workbook

The Insert Column option is disabled in a Shared Workbook. To solve this issue, follow Review > Share Workbook. Then, uncheck the Allow changes by more than one user at the same time then, and press OK.

8. Detect and Remove Unnecessary Excel Add-ins That Disable Insert Column Option

We know that Microsoft Excel includes various Add-ins that help you work with your data more effectively. But some add-ins can cause issues while working in Excel.

To solve this problem, go to File>Options>Add-ins.

Now, remove each Add-in one by one and notice whether the Add-in which is causing the problem is detected or not. After detecting the exact Add-in(s), remove those Add-ins to solve this problem.

Read More: Insert Column with Name in Excel VBA (5 Examples)

9. Enable Insert Column Option with an Excel VBA Code

We can also apply a VBA code to solve the Insert Column disability problem.


  • Go to the Sheet Name of the bottom section of any sheet.
  • Press the right button of the mouse. Choose the View Code option from the Context Menu.

Excel VBA Solution for Insert Column Disability

  • The VBA window will appear. Choose the Module option from the Insert tab.

  • VBA command module will appear now. We will write VBA code here.

  • Copy and paste the following VBA code on the module.
  • Now, run the code by pressing the F5 button.
Public Sub Reset_column()
End Sub

Excel VBA Solution for Insert Column Disability

In this way, we can solve the Insert Column disable problem by using a VBA code.

Read More: How to Insert Column with Excel VBA (4 Ways)


In this article, we discussed the reasons for the Insert Column greyed out problem in Excel. We showed them the solutions in detail. I hope this will satisfy your needs. Please have a look at our website ExcelDemy.com and give your suggestions in the comment box.

Related Articles

Alok Paul

Alok Paul

Hello, this is Alok. I am working as an Excel & VBA Content Developer at Exceldemy. I want to provide solutions to various Excel-based problems. I completed my study at East West University major in Telecommunications Engineering. I love traveling, reading books, playing cricket.

  1. Great work on explaining the issues with insert option. Helped a lot by using run command.

Leave a reply

Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions PDF