By David Ringstrom, CPA
It's easy to hide worksheets in Excel, but unhiding multiple worksheets within a given workbook can be a tedious exercise. Users who don't know otherwise are relegated to unhiding worksheets one at a time. In this article I'll explain a technique that allows you to hide and unhide multiple worksheets at once.
There are a couple of different ways to hide worksheets in Excel. For instance, carry out these steps to hide a single worksheet:
- Excel 2007 and later: As shown in Figure 1, on the Home tab choose Format, Hide and Unhide, and then Hide Sheet. Or, to save a couple of steps, right-click on the worksheet tab and then choose Hide.
- Excel 2003 and earlier: Choose Format, Sheet, Hide.
- Excel 2011 (Mac): Ctrl-left-click on a worksheet tab and choose Hide from the shortcut menu.
Figure 1: Right-clicking on a worksheet tab provides a faster means for hiding worksheets.
You can also hide multiple sheets at once. To do so, you'll first group the sheets. In any version of Excel, hold down the Ctrl key as you click on individual worksheet tabs and then carry out the aforementioned steps. Or you can hide several contiguous sheets:
- Click on the first worksheet tab and then hold down the Shift key as you click on the last worksheet tab within the group that you wish to hide.
- Hide the sheets as discussed above.
Now that your sheets are hidden, making them visible again calls for repetitive action, as every version of Excel requires you to unhide worksheets one at a time:
- Excel 2007 and later: On the Home tab, you can choose Format, Hide and Unhide, Unhide Sheet, and then unhide a single sheet. You must repeat this action for each worksheet that you wish to unhide. You can save a couple of steps by right-clicking on a visible worksheet tab and choose Unhide.
- Excel 2003 and earlier: From any worksheet tab, choose Format, Sheet, and then Unhide. Select the sheet you wish to display and then click OK. Repeat as needed for each worksheet you wish to unhide.
- Excel 2011 (Mac): Ctrl-left-click on a worksheet tab and choose Unhide from the shortcut menu. Select the sheet you wish to display and then click OK. Repeat as needed for each worksheet you wish to unhide.
Fortunately, the tedium of unhiding worksheets one at a time can be eliminated by use of Excel's Custom Views feature. Think of Custom Views as snapshots of workbook settings – such as the hidden or visible status of individual worksheets – that you can toggle at will. To use this feature, make sure that all worksheets are visible and then then carry out these steps:
In all versions of Excel:
- Choose Custom Views on the View tab or menu.
- Click Add, and then type a name for your custom view, such as All Sheets, and then click OK.
- Next, hide any worksheets as needed and then create a second view titled Presentation View, or a name of your choosing.
Figure 3: Create a baseline view that shows all worksheets before you hide any worksheets.
Going forward, you can toggle the view by selecting the Custom Views command and then double-clicking the view of your choice, or click once on the view and then click Show as indicated in Figure 4.
This article only scratches the surface of what's possible with Custom Views. I'll explore this feature further in future articles.
Figure 4: A custom view allows you to unhide multiple worksheets with just a couple of mouse clicks.
About the author:
David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link