Each column in a worksheet contains the data for one variable. You can customize columns in various ways. You can name them, write descriptions of them, change fonts, resize them, hide unused columns, and more.

Insert a column

  • To insert one column, click in the worksheet where you want to insert the column, then choose Editor > Insert Columns.
  • To insert multiple columns, select one or more cells in the number of columns equal to the number that you want to insert, then choose Editor > Insert Columns.
Columns are inserted to the left of the selected columns.

Name a column

To enter or change a column name, click in the column name cell (below the column number cell) and type the name. A column name must follow these rules:
  • It cannot be more than 31 characters.
  • It cannot begin with an asterisk (*).
  • It cannot contain the symbols ' or #.
  • It cannot have the same name as a different column in the same worksheet.

Enter a column description

A column with a description has a red triangle in the upper right corner of the column name cell.

  • To enter a column description, click in the column, then choose Editor > Column Properties > Description.
  • To view the description of the column, hold the pointer over the red triangle in the corner of the column name cell.
  • To view the descriptions for all the columns, choose Window > Project Manager, then click the Columns folder.

Move columns

Complete the following steps to move columns to a different location in the worksheet.

  1. Select one or more columns to move, then choose Editor > Move Columns.
  2. Select one of the following:
    • Before column C1: Put the selected columns before C1 (pushing other columns to the right).
    • After last column in use: Put the selected columns after the last non-empty column.
    • Before column: Put the selected columns before the column that you select.
  3. Click OK.

Copy columns to columns

Complete the following steps to copy columns in the active worksheet to columns in a specified worksheet.

  1. Choose Data > Copy > Columns to Columns.
  2. In Copy from columns, enter the columns to copy.
  3. From Store Copied Data in Columns, select a storage option:
    • In new worksheet: Enter a name for the new worksheet (optional).
    • In following worksheet, after last column used: Enter the name of an open worksheet to copy the columns to.
    • In current worksheet, in columns: Enter one or more target columns.
  4. To include column names, select Name the columns containing the copied data.
  5. To specify the rows to include or exclude in the new columns, click Subset the Data and do the following:
    1. Under Include or Exclude, specify whether to include or exclude rows from the copied columns.
    2. From Specify Which Rows To Include/Specify Which Rows To Exclude, select one of the following:
      • All rows/No rows: Include all rows or exclude no rows.
      • Rows that match: Include or exclude rows that match a condition. Click Condition to enter the conditional expression.
      • Brushed rows: Include or exclude rows that correspond to brushed points on a graph.
      • Row numbers: Include or exclude the specified rows. Enter individual row numbers and ranges of row numbers. Use a colon (:) to denote an inclusive range. For example, enter 1 4 6:10 to signify the set 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
  6. Click OK in each dialog box.

Change column widths

There are several ways to change column widths.

Manually change the width of one or more columns

  • To resize one column, hold the pointer over the right edge of the column number cell. Then, drag the two-sided arrow to the desired width.
  • To resize multiple adjacent columns at the same time, select one or more cells in each of the columns, then hold the pointer on the right edge of any of the column number cells. Drag the two-sided arrow to the desired width. When you release the mouse button, the columns change size.

Set the width of all columns in the active worksheet

  1. Click in the worksheet, then choose Editor > Column Properties > Standard Width.
  2. In Standard column width, enter the number of characters to display (between 1 and 80).
  3. To include columns whose widths were changed manually, select Change widths that were set individually.
  4. Click OK.

Specify automatic widening or set a fixed width for selected columns

  1. Drag to select the columns, then choose Editor > Column Properties > Width.
  2. Select one of the following:
    • Automatic widening: Minitab determines the column width by the width and format of the data in the column.
    • Fixed width: Enter the exact width that you want the columns to be (up to 80 characters). To hide the columns, enter 0.
  3. Click OK.

Change Minitab's default column width

Complete the following steps to change the standard column width for all new worksheets.

  1. Choose Tools > Options > Data Window > General.
  2. In Column width, enter the number of characters to display (between 1 and 80).
  3. Click OK.

Hide and unhide columns

There are several ways to hide or unhide columns in the active worksheet.

Hide selected columns

Do one of the following:

  • Select one or more cells in the columns that you want to hide, then choose Editor > Column Properties > Hide Selected Columns.
  • Hold the pointer over the right edge of the column number cell, then drag the two-sided arrow to the left until the column disappears.

Unhide selected columns

Select the two columns that surround the hidden columns, then choose Editor > Column Properties > Unhide Selected Columns.

Hide/unhide columns

You can manage the display of all columns in the worksheet.

Tip

To show or hide hidden columns in dialog boxes, choose Editor > Column Properties > Use Hidden Columns in Dialog Boxes.

  1. Click in the worksheet, then choose Editor > Column Properties > Hide/Unhide Columns.
  2. From Columns to display in list boxes, select the columns that you want to hide or unhide:
    • All Columns: Display all columns in the worksheet that contain data, including columns that were previously hidden, and any empty columns that are between the data columns.
    • Data Columns: Display only columns that contain data.
    • Empty Columns: Display only empty columns that are between columns that contain data.
  3. Use the arrow buttons to move the columns between Unhidden Columns and Hidden Columns.
  4. Click OK.

Sort columns

  • To sort an entire worksheet by values in the selected column, such as a date column, click in the column and choose Editor > Sort Columns > Entire Worksheet.
  • To sort by more than one column or to sort only specified columns, choose Editor > Sort Columns > Custom Sort.
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