June 05, 2004

Hiding Stuff, Part 2

Hiding and unhiding rows or columns is quite easy. After dragging across your selection with the mouse, you can use the Format menu to select Rows or Columns and then Hide or Unhide, or you can just use the right click menu which is a lot faster.

This is fine for hiding (or protecting) formulas or data on a semi-permanent basis which you do not need access often. But you may find yourself with rows or columns that you want use regularly but still want to hide them to keep them out of the way at least some of the time (not to mention the bother of continuously hiding or unhiding a large number of rows of columns if you are working with a large file) One example I can use is from real experience - I usually refer to my company's part numbers rather than customer's part numbers for ease of inner company communication but on occasion I may want to look at the customer's part numbers to confirm I am referring to the right one. In other words, I want them within easy reach but usually kept out of the way.

There is an easier way! Open the Customize dialog box from the Tools menu and make a toolbar as per this tip. Then on the Commands tab scroll down to the Data menu where you can see the Outline commands as per the below picture and drag the Show Outline Symbol, Group and Ungroup buttons to your new toolbar.

Select the rows you want to hide and then push the Group button (right facing arrow button). You will see Group number buttons appear automatically in the top left corner. You can make groups and subgroups (subgroups being a smaller selection of an existing group of rows or columns).

In the next picture you can see an example. Columns C to E are a subgroup of Columns B to F. You'll notice that Rows 4 to 5 are already hidden. To open or close these rows and columns I can either push the cross buttons to hide or unhide individual groups or subgroups, or I can use the numbered buttons to hide or unhide all of the groups (subgroups) with just one click.

How handy is this? Very! Once you finish with your initial grouping, you will be amazed at how simple and quick it is to hide and unhide the rows and columns you choose. Just use the Show Outline Symbol to access the Outline buttons whenever you want to do so.

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