How to Hide and Unhide Rows and Columns in Excel 2016

By Greg Harvey

A funny thing about narrowing columns and rows in Excel 2016: You can get carried away and make a column so narrow or a row so short that it actually disappears from the worksheet! This can come in handy for those times when you don’t want part of the worksheet visible.

For example, suppose you have a worksheet that contains a column listing employee salaries — you need these figures to calculate the departmental budget figures, but you would prefer to leave sensitive info off most printed reports. Rather than waste time moving the column of salary figures outside the area to be printed, you can just hide the column until after you print the report.

Hiding worksheet columns

Although you can hide worksheet columns and rows by just adjusting them out of existence, Excel does offer an easier method of hiding them, via the Hide & Unhide option on the Format button’s drop-down menu (located in the Cells group of the Home tab). Suppose that you need to hide column B in the worksheet because it contains some irrelevant or sensitive information that you don’t want printed. To hide this column, you could follow these steps:

  1. Select any cell in column B to designate it as the column to hide.

  2. Click the drop-down button attached to the Format button in the Cells group on the Home tab.

    Excel opens the Format button’s drop-down menu.

  3. Click Hide & Unhide →Hide Columns on the drop-down menu.

That’s all there is to it — column B goes poof! All the information in the column disappears from the worksheet. When you hide column B, notice that the row of column letters in the frame now reads A, C, D, E, F, and so forth.

You could just as well have hidden column B by right-clicking its column letter on the frame and then choosing the Hide command on the column’s shortcut menu.

Now, suppose that you’ve printed the worksheet and need to make a change to one of the entries in column B. To unhide the column, follow these steps:

  1. Position the mouse pointer on column letter A in the frame and drag the pointer right to select both columns A and C.

    You must drag from A to C to include hidden column B as part of the column selection — don’t click while holding down the Ctrl key or you won’t get B.

  2. Click the drop-down button attached to the Format button in the Cells group on the Home tab.

  3. Click Hide & Unhide→Unhide Columns on the drop-down menu.

Excel brings back the hidden B column, and all three columns (A, B, and C) are selected. You can then click the mouse pointer on any cell in the worksheet to deselect the columns.

You could also unhide column B by selecting columns A through C, right-clicking either one of them, and then choosing the Unhide command on the column shortcut menu.

Hiding worksheet rows

The procedure for hiding and unhiding rows of the worksheet is essentially the same as for hiding and unhiding columns. The only difference is that after selecting the rows to hide, you click Hide & Unhide→  Hide Rows on the Format button’s drop-down menu and Hide & Unhide→Unhide Rows to bring them back.

Don’t forget that you can use the Hide and Unhide options on the rows’ shortcut menu to make selected rows disappear and then reappear in the worksheet.