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How to Hide Columns in Excel

How to Hide Columns in Excel

Did you know that there are several ways you can learn how to hide columns in Excel? While most people know about this Microsoft software feature, there are a couple of things that you might not be aware of. For example, you can hide or unhide more than one column at a time. If the columns or rows are contiguous, you can also take advantage of the grouping tool within Excel. To save you some time, we have outlined several ways that you can hide and unhide your Excel columns and rows. Read on to learn more.

Columns, rows, and cells are the backbones of Excel spreadsheets. As the main locations where you enter all data, they can hold countless amounts of information. Sometimes though, it’s not necessary to see everything all at once.  We will show you a few ways to hide and then unhide columns on your Excel spreadsheet. Remember that everything that follows works for rows too.

How to Hide Columns in Excel

Simple Hiding of Columns and Rows

The most common way on how to hide columns in excel is to highlight the column you want to hide and right-click with your mouse.

The pop-up menu will have an option to Hide near the bottom. Simply click it, and your column disappears.

To get the column back, you will need to highlight the columns on either side of the one you hid. For example, if you hid column D, then select columns C and E, right-click and choose Unhide from the bottom of the pop-up.

Column D reappears.

The keyboard shortcuts for the above are just as simple, and we will include the ones in rows too.

Hide Column – Control + 0

Unhide Column – Shift + Control + 0

Hide Row – Control + 9

Unhide Row – Shift + Control + 9

Using Go To

If you have several columns and rows hidden in a spreadsheet but want to be selective about revealing one of those, the Go To command may be your best option.

Assume you have columns C, D, F, H, and K hidden along with rows 3, 5, and 9.

Select Control + G from the keyboard.

The Go To window will pop-up. In the box below Reference, type in one of the destination cells from the column you want to unhide. For our example, type in D11 and click OK.

D11 is now the active cell. You will not see the highlight, but you’ll know you’re there from the cell identification box just to the left of the formula bar.

Select Shift + Control + 0.

Column D should now appear while keeping the other columns and rows hidden.

Group and Ungroup Columns and Rows

So far, we’ve only addressed hiding and unhiding single columns. What if you need to group columns?

Excel has a group feature to help pull together columns (and rows).

First, select the group of columns you want to group and hide. For our example highlight columns B, C, and D.

From there, go to your Data tab and from the Group and Outline box, choose Group. To simplify, your steps should be:

Data > Group & Outline > Group

Once you’ve finished, a line will show up over the B, C, and D columns, indicating that these three columns are grouped.

To collapse this group of columns, click the box to the right of the line. This will hide the three grouped columns.

To unhide, click the box with the plus sign. This is above the column after the last one hidden, in our example column E.

To ungroup the cells, retrace your steps and follow the below:

Data > Group & Outline > Ungroup

Width Adjustment Method

The final way to hide a column or row in Excel is by adjusting the column width using the headings.

In each new spreadsheet, columns start at a fixed width; rows a fixed height. There are two ways to change these.

First, highlight a column and then right click with your mouse. In the pop-up, choose column width and manually enter 0. For rows, you would select row height.

The column is hidden.

You can perform this task with multiple columns or rows. For example, while holding down Control, highlight columns C, D, and F and right-click one of the highlighted cells. Choose column width, type in 0 and click OK.

All three columns are now hidden.

To unhide, simply follow one of the methods outlined above.

The other variation of this technique is to move your mouse between the column or row headings until the cursor changes to a two-sided arrow. From there, hold down with your mouse, and you can slide the width larger or smaller for the column to the left of the cursor.

For rows, you can increase or decrease the height of the row above the cursor.

Troubleshooting

In all instances above, you are only changing the appearance or size of the column (or row) and not the actual values or formulas in a column’s cells. As such, you will run into very few issues when hiding or un-hiding columns.

One thing of note, you can copy a hidden column and paste or insert it elsewhere, even as it remains hidden. This can be confusing if you have a large number of columns or rows hidden in your spreadsheet.

For example, if columns B and D are visible and column C is hidden, if you select B and D to copy and paste, you are also highlighting column C.

When you paste the columns, column C will paste as well, while remaining hidden. This will also work with the cut and insert commands and if columns are grouped.

Finally, always remember that there are different versions of Excel and with each one, a slight variation in the way the information appears or functions.  This is also true with Excel on a PC and a Mac.

How to Hide Columns in Excel: Conclusion

The ability to control how you work and view your data within a spreadsheet is one of the key functions in Excel. When the need presents itself to hide columns or rows, the multiple ways to accomplish the task is further proof of Excel’s flexibility.

Whether it’s one column or ten, Excel allows you to choose the best way to present your data.

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