How to show and hide gridlines in Excel 2016, 2013, 2010

In the previous blog post we successfully solved the problem of Excel not printing gridlines. Today I'd like to dwell on another issue related to Excel grid lines. In this article you'll learn how to show gridlines in an entire worksheet or in certain cells only, and how to hide lines by changing cells background or borders' color.

When you open an Excel document, you can see the horizontal and vertical faint lines that divide the worksheet into cells. These lines are called gridlines. It is very convenient to show gridlines in Excel spreadsheets as the key idea of the application is to organize the data in rows and columns. And you don't need to draw cell borders to make your data-table more readable.

All Excel spreadsheets have gridlines by default, but sometimes you can receive a sheet without cell lines from another person. In this case you may want them to become visible again. Removing lines is also a very common task. If you think that your spreadsheet will look more accurate and presentable without them, you can make Excel hide gridlines.

alt=Sample worksheet with and without gridlines

Whether you decide to show gridlines in your worksheet or hide them, go ahead and find below different ways to fulfil these tasks in Excel 2016, 2013 and 2010.

Show gridlines in Excel

Suppose you want to see gridlines in the entire worksheet or workbook, but they are just turned off. In this case you need to check one of the following options in the Excel 2016 - 2010 Ribbon.

Start with opening the worksheet where cell lines are invisible.

Note: If you'd like to make Excel show gridlines in two or more sheets, hold down the Ctrl key and click the necessary sheet tabs at the bottom of the Excel window. Now any changes will be applied to every selected worksheet.

When you are done with the selection, just navigate to the VIEW tab on the Ribbon and check the Gridlines box in the Show group.
alt=Select the Gridlines checkbox on the VIEW tab to show gridlines in Excel

Alternatively, you can go to the Sheet Options group on the PAGE LAYOUT tab and select the View checkbox under Gridlines.
alt=Check the View box under Gridlines on the PAGE LAYOUT tab to display gridlines in Excel

Whichever option you choose gridlines will instantly appear in all the selected worksheets.

Note: If you want to hide gridlines in the entire spreadsheet, just uncheck the Gridlines or View options.

Show / hide gridlines in Excel by changing the fill color

One more way to display / remove gridlines in your spreadsheet is to use the Fill Color feature. Excel will hide gridlines if the background is white. If the cells have no fill, gridlines will be visible. You can apply this method for an entire worksheet as well as for a specific range. Let's see how it works.

  1. Select the necessary range or the entire spreadsheet.
    Tip: The easiest way to highlight the whole worksheet is to click on the Select All button in the top-left corner of the sheet.

    alt=Click the Select All button in the top-left corner to highlight the entire spreadsheet

    You can also use the Ctrl + A keyboard shortcut to select all the cells in the spreadsheet. You'll need to press the key combination twice or three times if your data is organized as Table.

  2. Go to the Font group on the HOME tab and open the Fill Color drop-down list.
  3. Choose the white color from the list to remove gridlines.
    Note: If you want to show lines in Excel, pick the No Fill option.

    alt=Choose the white color from the Fill Color drop-down list to hide gridlines

As you can see in the screenshot above, applying the white background will give an effect of hidden gridlines in your worksheet.

Make Excel hide gridlines only in specific cells

In case you want Excel to hide gridlines only in a certain block of cells, you can use the white cells background or apply white borders. Since you already know how to change the background color, let me show you how to remove gridlines by coloring the borders.

  1. Select the range where you want to remove lines.
    alt=Select the block of cells where you want to remove gridlines
  2. Right-click on the selection and choose Format Cells from the context menu.
    alt= Choose the Format Cells option from the right-click menu to open the Format Cells dialog

    Note: You can also use the Ctrl + 1 keyboard shortcut to display the Format Cells dialog.
  3. Make sure that you are on the Border tab in the Format Cells window.
  4. Choose the white color and press the Outline and Inside buttons under Presets.
    alt=Choose the white color and press Outline and Inside to hide gridlines in the block of cells
  5. Click OK to see the changes.

    Here you go. Now you have an eye-catching "white crow" in your worksheet.

    alt=Click OK to close the Format Cells dialog and see the changes in the worksheet

Note: To bring gridlines back to the block of cells, choose Noneunder Presets in the Format Cells dialog window.

Remove gridlines by changing their color

There is one more way to make Excel hide gridlines. If you change the default gridline color into white, gridlines will disappear in the whole worksheet. If you're interested in this method, feel free to find out how to change the default gridline color in Excel.

You see there are different ways to show and hide gridlines in Excel. Just choose the one that will work best for you. If you know any other methods of showing and removing cell lines, you are welcome to share them with me and other users! :)

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32 Responses to "How to show and hide gridlines in Excel 2016, 2013, 2010"

  1. Ilka says:

    I attempted to get the gridlines back after removing cell borders and by selecting the area and then presets of 'none' I still cannot get the gridlines back. Any ideas in using Excel 2010?


  2. Research Assistant says:

    Thank you! Saved my morning. My boss isn't here and I didn't want to have to ask him how to do this. So yeah, thanks :D

  3. Laura says:

    I have a spreadsheet I received from someone else. When I look at it on the screen, it looks fine. When it prints (legal/landscape) it is only printing the gridlines on the left half of the paper. I have tried adding borders to the entire document, selecting all and showing/printing gridlines, etc. Nothing seems to work.

  4. Mark says:

    Hi Ilka,

    To fix what you describe, go to the 'Home' tab. On the right hand side of the toolbar, you will see 'Clear'. Click on clear and then select 'Clear Formats'.

    That should fix your problem.

  5. Mei says:

    THANK YOU. I could not work without the lines and it bugged me really badly to see it blank. The second tip helped me.

  6. Allan says:

    One reason that grid lines are not showing is that background has been set to white. Select whole sheet, click TLH corner. In Home set background to "no fill".

  7. shamsher ali says:

    who r u i dont no but thanks to u god bless u my dear

  8. Miguel says:

    Thank Mark I resolved with your Tips

  9. kercheck says:

    Allens comment solved my problem, background set to "no fill"

  10. Marie Pauline Sauzier says:

    I followed all the suggestions on the Web to show gridlines in Excel 2013 to no avail. I have no idea why it suddenly stopped displaying them. Please help.

  11. Limpert says:

    Yes, but is there any way to have both background color (fill) AND gridlines?

  12. Dragan says:

    I am steel in problem with office 2013 excel because of gridline. All is checked and nothing

  13. Elena says:

    Hello, I have a problem. When I write two numbers next to each other, the line between them disappears. What should I do?

  14. jm says:

    The gridlines only show for the information entered. Meaning, if only two days have been entered so far, gridlines only show up for those two days. I need the whole page to print out in gridlines. Those future gridline days will eventually be filled in.

  15. karen says:

    thank you!!!!

  16. George T. L. says:

    This is what I use because I want colors but still wanted the faint gridline to organize the data.

    My solution: Highlight the area you want the gridlines (likely the area you colored and lost them) - Right click - format cells - select the normal border size on the bottom left of the style box - under the color option select "Tan, Background 2" (this is a pre-set option third over right on the top selection - next ensure you select the type of border you want (this is the sample box that says "none, outline, inside, etc.) - finally click okay. You should now have a faint grid border that blends with the original grid marks un-noticingly (yes I made that word up :)

    You can then use the same steps to add a black border around your new grid like border to better present your colored grid lined chart. :)

  17. Sally says:

    Sometimes you find a set of three cells (arranged vertically) plus one more to the right of the middle one of the three, with no gridlines showing between them. In this case it seems (sometimes) that that middle one has been formatted unexpectedly. To cure, go to Format Cells, select the Fill tab, and click on No Colour (because even if you can't really see it, it turns out that the White button has been selected. This cured a puzzle for us!

  18. Lynnae says:

    Thank you this was very helpful, I was trying to get the lines back in certain cells only and this really helped me figure it out.

  19. REG says:

    Thanks, no response expected!!!

  20. Mae Myat Moe says:

    Thanks a lot! I work well!

  21. Xavier says:

    So helpful

  22. Ezra says:

    how to turn on a grid lines in excel?

  23. amresh says:

    Awesome Thanks

  24. fdsfds says:

    gridlines go off when setting a bg color
    how do you fix this ?

  25. ASHRAF says:

    thanks a lot . very useful information

  26. Fluke says:

    None of these suggestions worked for me, I ended up figuring it out myself ... after wayyyy too long:
    Go to the Home tab
    Go to the Font section
    Select the little square table icon
    Select All Borders
    Gridlines have returned!
    I have maybe three strands of hair left after pulling out the rest.
    Hope this helps someone.

  27. Javier says:

    Excellent, thank you!

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