Report Support: Simplify Your Workbook by Hiding Data in Plain Sight

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Hiding a row or column in Microsoft Excel is simple—just select the whole column by clicking the letter (or number for row) header, right-click, and select "Hide”. You can unhide by selecting the columns to either side of the hidden column, right-clicking, and selecting "Unhide."

But what if you have a section of inconveniently placed data you want to hide, but you still want to be able to work with?

1. Highlight the cells you want to hide > right-click > select Format Cells...

2. In the Number tab, select the Category type "Custom".

3. In the Type field, input three semicolons " ;;; " and click OK.

Now the numbers aren't visible, but you can still use them in formulas. The values of these cells can be found in the preview area next to the Function button. You can take this hack even further.

When collaborating with a team or integrating data from different sources, your Microsoft Excel workbook can get overloaded with several sheets (each indicated by a tab at the bottom). To simplify your workbook, you can hide sheets, making their data still available not only for reference, but also available to formulas on other sheets in the workbook.

1. Right-click the bottom sheet tab and select Hide.

2. To find it again, go the tab at top, click Unhide, and pick the sheet name from the list of hidden sheets that pops up. Note that you can also hide the sheet you are currently working on by clicking Hide in the View tab.