Group, Don’t Hide, Your Data

Group1Most Excel users know (for better or worse) how to hide rows and columns. However, many times this is a brutish way to hide or organize your data, especially if you want to see that data again. This is where the power of grouping comes in.

Basically, grouping allows you to quickly hide/unhide/organize your data, especially large sets of data. Let me explain by using an example. Let’s say you have the following financial statement.

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On this financial statement, you only want to see Total Revenue, Total Expenses, and Net Income. To group (hide), first select the rows you want to group. In this case, rows 9-12. Go to the Data tab -> Group -> Group. A box will now appear to the left of your column.

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If you click on the box with the line through it, it will collapse (hide) your columns. Now repeat this process for rows 14-17. Look how clean that looks! Best of all, now you can easily hide/unhide the rows/data!

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Also, note that you can group columns as well. And, if you want to go really crazy, you can nest groups. For instance, you can group columns 9-18 then group columns 9-12 and 14-17 like we did above. To ungroup, simply highlight the rows and go to the Data tab -> Ungroup -> Ungroup. Or to eliminate all of your groups (atomic bomb), click Clear Outline.

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There you have it! You have just become a more sophisticated Excel user. And, you now know how to better organize your spreadsheets. Good luck, my fellow Excel nerds!