Hiding and Unhiding Using the Grouping Feature

In last week’s blog, I mentioned there was a little plus sign above Column C in the sheet named “List” in the file that accompanied that blog, as shown here:
 Grouping-05-the plus sign

Please click this link to open the Excel 2007 file (zipped, no macros) named “Vacation Packing List.xlsx” that accompanied last week’s blog. Notice also that Columns A and B are hidden. This was done by using a neat little feature called Grouping. I like this feature because it not only allows me to quickly hide and unhide columns and/or rows, but also allows me to clearly see where rows and/or columns are hidden. In this blog, we’ll cover how to use the Grouping and Ungrouping features.

First, let’s see how to use this Grouping feature, once it’s been established.

1. Click the little plus sign above Column C. Note that Columns A and B appear, as shown here:

2. Let’s click the minus sign that now appears above Column C. See how Columns A and B are hidden again?

Let’s see how to Group and Ungroup columns. Since we’re using a sheet that already uses the Grouping feature, we’ll use the Ungroup feature first.

1. Highlight Columns A and B.

2. In the Data tab, in the Outline group, click the Ungroup icon, as shown here:

3. Note that the plus sign has now disappeared, as shown here:
 Grouping-20-After Ungrouping

4. Let’s Group Columns A, B and F. We’ll start with Columns A and B, since they are already highlighted.

5. In the Data tab, in the Outline group, click the Group icon. Note that the plus sign has now reappeared above Column C.

6. Let’s click Column F.

7. In the Data tab, in the Outline group, click the Group icon again. Note that another plus sign has appeared above Column G.

8. The top portion of the sheet should now look as shown here:

Finally, let’s see how to hide all of the grouped columns (works for rows as well) in one step. On the left side of the top of the sheet, click the little number 1 as pointed out in the screen shot just above. Did you notice that all of the grouped columns became hidden? Now, click the little number 2 just below the little number 1 we just clicked. See how the columns reappeared?

Next week, I’ll start a five week series on copying formats – Cells & Columns, Charts, and Printing. Hope you all have a good week.

About Robert Ryan

Robert F. Ryan, MBA, CPA, is an independent business consultant, educator, writer, and finance leader in a Fortune 50 multinational company. He has a passion for simplicity, quality, efficiency, and a unique ability to explain things to people, so they understand quickly and thoroughly. He's worked with spreadsheets extensively for almost thirty years, including VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3, and Excel.
This entry was posted in Excel Grouping. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply