Let me ask you a question. How do you hide a row or a column? Since this is Excel we are talking about, there are several methods to accomplish this goal.
One common approach is to select the row or column, and then select the Hide command, either from the Format Ribbon icon or the right-click shortcut menu. Another common approach is by changing the row height or column width to zero. These are probably the two most common methods. However, there are problems with these methods.
One problem is that it is hard to tell if a row or column has been hidden. You need to carefully examine the row and column headers and look for missing items. For example, the column labels skip from B to F in the screenshot below.
Another problem is that it takes too long to unhide the rows or columns. Let’s look at another method to hide rows and columns: outline groups.
The Outline feature has been available in Excel for many years. It is my preferred method for hiding rows or columns. When a row or column is hidden with this feature, Excel provides a button that you can click to show/hide the group. This provides a visual indicator letting you know a row or column is hidden, and, it makes it fast and easy to show/hide.
The feature is easy to use. Simply select the row/s or column/s you wish to hide. Then, click the following Ribbon tab:
- Data > Group > Group
The selected row/s or column/s will now be included in an outline group, as illustrated by columns C:E below.
Now it is easy to hide and unhide the group, simply click on the outline button. The screenshot below shows the hidden outline group.
In addition to clicking the outline button to individually show/hide an outline group, you can show/hide all groups by clicking the little 1 and 2 buttons. You can also create a hierarchy of nested groups, and each level gets a new outline button. This feature provides an excellent way to hide rows or columns, and I hope you dig it.
And remember, Excel rules!
Excel is not what it used to be.
You need the Excel Proficiency Roadmap now. Includes 6 steps for a successful journey, 3 things to avoid, and weekly Excel tips.
Want to learn Excel?
Access all Undergrad and Masters lessons with a Campus Pass or CPE Pass. Includes on-demand training plus live office hours.