I would like to know, how to add a new line in a column without changing the other columns. Alternatively, how to move up a cell in a column without changing the other columns.

Here is an example (before):

| Example | Example |
|       1 | A       |
|       2 | B       |
|       3 |         |

After unknown insert of a new line above A:

| Example | Example |
|       1 |         |
|       2 | A       |
|       3 | B       |

Lets now move up cell A in second column without changing the other columns:

| Example | Example |
|       1 | A       |
|       2 |         |
|       3 | B       |

I read the documentation, but did not find a direct answer.


In the most recent version of org it is possible to move up cell by using SHIFT - <UP>. Effectively org is swapping two cells in a given direction. There is also commands for S-DOWN, S-LEFT and S-RIGHT.

2 Answers 2


You can cut / copy / paste rectangular sections of tables, with C-c C-x followed by the usual C-w, M-w and C-y.

This is documented in the same manual page you referenced.

So, to move part of a column, mark the starting cell with C-spc, move to the end cell, then cut the table region, and paste were desired.

  • 1
    I see. I expected something along the lines of "Move cursor behind A, then press ... to move down all the cells in that column". But this is possibly fast enough.
    – Lukas
    Feb 19, 2019 at 17:18

I've adapted the existent org-table--move-cell from org-table.el and created a new function to craft this solution. There is also a keybinding: if you type C-M-« on a cell it will insert a new row within the column. If it is not possible to insert any more rows the function returns an error. Note: this is a function just to insert rows within a column, it is not meant to move blocks to the sides or upwards.

(defun org-table-irwc ()
  "Insert row within column"
  (unless (org-table-check-inside-data-field)
    (error "No table at point"))
  (org-table--move-cells 'down)
(with-eval-after-load 'org
  (define-key org-mode-map (kbd "C-M-«") 'org-table-irwc))

(defun org-table--move-cells (direction)
  "Move the current cells in a cardinal direction.
DIRECTION is a symbol among `up', `down', `left', and `right'.
The contents the current cell are swapped with cell in the
indicated direction.  Raise an error if the move cannot be done."
  (let ((row-shift (pcase direction (`up -1) (`down 1) (_ 0)))
        (column-shift (pcase direction (`left -1) (`right 1) (_ 0))))
    (when (and (= 0 row-shift) (= 0 column-shift))
      (error "Invalid direction: %S" direction))
    ;; Initialize `org-table-current-ncol' and `org-table-dlines'.
    (let* ((row (org-table-current-line))
           (column (org-table-current-column))
           (target-column (+ column column-shift))
           (org-table-current-nrow (1- (length org-table-dlines)))
       (field (org-table-get org-table-current-nrow column)))
      (if (string= "" field)
      (progn (dolist (rnumber (number-sequence org-table-current-nrow (1+ row) -1))
            (let* ((target-row rnumber)
           (row (+ target-row -1)))
              (when (or (< target-column 1)
            (< target-row 1)
            (> target-column org-table-current-ncol)
            (> target-row org-table-current-nrow))
        (user-error "Cannot move cell further"))
              (org-table--swap-cells row column target-row target-column)
              (org-table-goto-line target-row)
              (org-table-goto-column target-column))))
    (user-error "Cannot move cells further")))))

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