Change the Row and Column Headers

You cannot change the default Row (1,2,3,…) and Column (A,B,C,D….) headers, but you can give your spreadsheet the look and feel as if you had custom headings.


  1. Enter what you’d like to be your Row Headers in the first column leaving cell A1 blank
  2. Enter what you’d like to be your Column Headers in the first row leaving cell A1 blank (the sheet should look like this)
    before changing row and column headers

    before changing row and column headers

  3. Format first row and column to match the color and width/height of the default headers
  4. In Excel 2003, go to Tools>Options>View Tab>Clear the Row & column Headers check box. In Excel 2007, click on View from the Ribbon and uncheck the Headings box.

Now, your sheet might look like this:

change row and column headers

after changing row and column headers

About the Author

A co-author of Data Science for Fundraising, an award winning keynote speaker, Ashutosh R. Nandeshwar is one of the few analytics professionals in the higher education industry who has developed analytical solutions for all stages of the student life cycle (from recruitment to giving). He enjoys speaking about the power of data, as well as ranting about data professionals who chase after “interesting” things. He earned his PhD/MS from West Virginia University and his BEng from Nagpur University, all in industrial engineering. Currently, he is leading the data science, reporting, and prospect development efforts at the University of Southern California.