How to hide and unhide columns and rows in Excel

Hide the information that needs to stay private with this easy to follow guide

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Sometimes users don’t want others to see information in an Excel spreadsheet, but why? Isn’t that defeating the object of having a spreadsheet in the forest place? Well not exactly. Let’s take a payroll spreadsheet, for example, higher-ups and colleagues may need to see how much is being spent on wages and freelance payment in a certain amount of time. By hiding columns and rows containing the wages themselves, colleagues can see the overall amount spent without revealing private information about employees.

Hiding rows and columns allows the information within them to be used without physically revealing the information therein. This isn’t a great way to hide information being inside a spreadsheet altogether though. Looking to speak some information in without being spotted? Good luck. Users will be able to spot the missing column or row numbers, so even if the spreadsheet or workbook is read-only and others can’t physically see the hidden information, it’s easy to spot when a spreadsheet has missing rows and columns.

How to hide and unhide columns and rows in Excel

how to hide columns in excel

Regardless of needing to hide rows or columns, the process is the same in the how-to guide below. In our examples below, we’re using the Office 365 version of Excel and illustrating how to hide rows. Let’s get straight into it, starting with how to hide rows in Excel:

How to Hide columns and rows in Excel

how to hide and unhide columns and rows in Excel

To kick things off, click and highlight the column and rows that need hiding. For rows and columns next to each other, click whilst holding shift to select multiples or click and drag to highlight. To select separate rows and columns, click whilst holding CTRL to highlight. Make sure to click the column letter or row number in order to highlight it correctly.

Right-Click or go to Format

Next, right-click a highlighted cell and select ‘Hide’. Alternatively, under the Home ribbon tab, go to the Bells group and click ‘Format’. Then go to hide & Unhide > Hide Rows/Columns.

How to unhide columns and rows in Excel

how to hide and unhide columns and rows in Excel

To unhide, take a look at inconsistencies alongside the row or columns numbers and letters for missing characters as shown below. Next, highlight the row and column before and after the hidden ones.

Right-Click or go to Format, again.

Then, either right-click and select ‘Unhide’,  or go back to the Format button in the Cells group and go to hide & Unhide > Unhide Rows/Unhide Rows.

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Christian 'Reggie' Waits' is a contributor to PC Guide, having written a wide array of how to and buying guide content.