TRANSPOSE: Excel Formulas Explained
If the eyes had their way, we’d read everything visual and digestible on one screen. But in the world of spreadsheets, we have to be equipped with a flexible rubber neck that could move our head from left to right, then up and down, just to read through an entire table. If you’ve ever felt the annoyance of having to tilt your head to read data that was originally intended to be viewed on an upright sheet of paper - read on to learn how to use the TRANSPOSE formula in Excel.
This article is perfect for anyone who wants to be an Excel wizard or needs to understand the TRANSPOSE formula. Whether you’re a newbie or veteran of Excel, you’ll learn everything you need to know about this particular formula and how to use it in your daily tasks.
What is TRANSPOSE formula?
The TRANSPOSE formula is one of the less popular formulas within the Excel formula library. The function is mostly used to help reduce the need for physically rotating the data within specific cells of the sheet. This formula can be used to take data contained within a row of cells and “transpose” the data so that it’s instead organized within a column of cells.
In simple terms, it flips rows of data into columns, making them more readable without having to rotate your screen or move your head around in a gulping fish-like motion.
Where do I find the TRANSPOSE formula?
Excel TRANSPOSE formula uses array formulas, and not all functions in Excel are considered array formulas. Therefore, we need to use the keyboard shortcut “CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER” to activate it.
How do I use the TRANSPOSE formula?
The TRANSPOSE function is easy to use, with only a few simple steps to follow. Let’s use Excel as our canvas to demonstrate:
- Select the cells with the table that needs to be transposed.
- Copy the selected cells to the clipboard by pressing Ctrl+C or by right-clicking and selecting Copy from the menu.
- Find the cell where you would like to transpose the data.
- Right-click on the cell and select Paste Special (or paste under the home tab). Choose Transpose, and click OK.
Congrats! You have just transposed the data. Here’s an example to illustrate.
Name | Position | Age
Gary | Manager | 43
Kate | Analyst | 28
Lucy | Developer | 35
Name | Gary | Kate | Lucy
Age | 43 | 28 | 35
Using TRANSPOSE formula on a regular basis
Now that you know how to use TRANSPOSE formula let's dig a bit deeper. Here are a few practical scenarios to apply to it:
Scenario 1 - Copy a row to form a column
Let’s go back to our table example above. We have a list of names, and we want to make a column out of them. This is where the TRANSPOSE formula comes in handy. Here are the steps to follow:
- Select the cells you need to transpose (in this example, the row with names).
- Press Ctrl+C to copy the selected data to the clipboard.
- Select an empty cell where you want the transposed data to appear.
- Activate TRANSPOSE formula using Ctrl + Shift + Enter seeing as it requires an array formula.
- Boom! You just have a transposed list of names in a column rather than a row. Easy, huh?
Scenario 2 - Turning columnar data into a row
In some cases, you may have a scenario where you have columnar data that you need to transpose, so it’s tidier and easier to read. In this situation, we will again employ use of the TRANSPOSE formula.
Take our table from earlier, for instance. We have age, positions, and names within the columns, and their data matches up in the same rows. If we used the transpose formula to switch columns for rows, then we would see each person’s data lined up in one row instead of three columns. Here are the steps to follow:
- Select the data you need to transpose (in our example, it's 3 rows by 3 columns).
- Copy the table to the clipboard using Ctrl+C or right-clicking and selecting Copy from the menu.
- Select an empty cell to where you want the transposed data to appear.
- Now that you’ve selected the cell, hit Ctrl+Alt+V or right-click and then select Paste special
- Select the transpose checkbox, and hit OK. Voila! Your data is now shown with columns and rows switched.
Being able to use TRANSPOSE formula is an important skill that will not only save you time but will also help you present the data more efficiently. Once you master this formula, you’ll be able to convert data from rows and columns to whichever layout is appropriate for your work. Start using transposing data today, and enjoy the magnificent improvements in the readability and presentation of data in your Excel spreadsheets!