How to hide and unhide rows in Excel

Svetlana Cheusheva by , updated on

The tutorial shows three different ways to hide rows in your worksheets. It also explains how to show hidden rows in Excel and how to copy only visible rows.

If you want to prevent users from wandering into parts of a worksheet you don't want them to see, then hide such rows from their view. This technique is often used to conceal sensitive data or formulas, but you may also wish to hide unused or unimportant areas to keep your users focused on relevant information.

On the other hand, when updating your own sheets or exploring inherited workbooks, you would certainly want to unhide all rows and columns to view all data and understand the dependencies. This article will teach you both options.

How to hide rows in Excel

As is the case with nearly all common tasks in Excel, there is more than one way to hide rows: by using the ribbon button, right-click menu, and keyboard shortcut.

Anyway, you begin with selecting the rows you'd like to hide:

  • To select one row, click on its heading.
  • To select multiple contiguous rows, drag across the row headings using the mouse. Or select the first row and hold down the Shift key while selecting the last row.
  • To select non-contiguous rows, click the heading of the first row and hold down the Ctrl key while clicking the headings of other rows that you want to select.

With the rows selected, proceed with one of the following options.

Hide rows using the ribbon

If you enjoy working with the ribbon, you can hide rows in this way:

  1. Go to the Home tab > Cells group, and click the Format button.
  2. Under Visibility, point to Hide & Unhide, and then select Hide Rows.

Hide rows in Excel using the ribbon.

Alternatively, you can click Home tab >Format > Row Height… and type 0 in the Row Height box.

Either way, the selected rows will be hidden from view straight away.

Hide rows using the right-click menu

In case you don't want to bother remembering the location of the Hide command on the ribbon, you can access it from the context menu: right click the selected rows, and then click Hide.
Hide rows in Excel via the right-click menu.

Excel shortcut to hide row

If you'd rather not take your hands off the keyboard, you can quickly hide the selected row(s) by pressing this shortcut: Ctrl + 9

How to unhide rows in Excel

As with hiding rows, Microsoft Excel provides a few different ways to unhide them. Which one to use is a matter of your personal preference. What makes the difference is the area you select to instruct Excel to unhide all hidden rows, only specific rows, or the first row in a sheet.

Unhide rows by using the ribbon

On the Home tab, in the Cells group, click the Format button, point to Hide & Unhide under Visibility, and then click Unhide Rows.
Unhide rows in Excel by using the ribbon

Unhide rows using the context menu

You select a group of rows including the row above and below the row(s) you want to unhide, right-click the selection, and choose Unhide in the pop-up menu. This method works beautifully for unhiding a single hidden row as well as multiple rows.

For example, to show all hidden rows between rows 1 and 8, select this group of rows like shown in the screenshot below, right-click, and click Unhide:
Unhide on or more rows using the context menu

Unhide rows with a keyboard shortcut

Here is the Excel Unhide Rows shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + 9

Pressing this key combination (3 keys simultaneously) displays any hidden rows that intersect the selection.

Show hidden rows by double-clicking

In many situations, the fastest way to unhide rows in Excel is to double click them. The beauty of this method is that you don't need to select anything. Simply hover your mouse over the hidden row headings, and when the mouse pointer turns into a split two-headed arrow, double click. That's it!
Unhide rows by double-clicking

How to unhide all rows in Excel

In order to unhide all rows on a sheet, you need to select all rows. For this, you can either:

  • Click the Select All button (a little triangle at the upper left corner of a sheet, in the intersection of the row and column headings):
    Use the Select All button to select the entire sheet.
  • Press the Select All shortcut: Ctrl + A

Please note that in Microsoft Excel, this shortcut behaves differently in different situations. If the cursor is in an empty cell, the whole worksheet is selected. But if the cursor is in one of contiguous cells with data, only that group of cells is selected; to select all cells, press Ctrl+A one more time.

Once the entire sheet is selected, you can unhide all rows by doing one of the following:

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + 9 (the fastest way).
  • Select Unhide from the right-click menu (the easiest way that does not require remembering anything).
  • On the Home tab, click Format > Unhide Rows (the traditional way).

How to unhide all cells in Excel

To unhide all rows and columns, select the whole sheet as explained above, and then press Ctrl + Shift + 9 to show hidden rows and Ctrl + Shift + 0 to show hidden columns.

How to unhide specific rows in Excel

Depending on which rows you want to unhide, select them as described below, and then apply one of the unhide options discussed above.

  • To show one or several adjacent rows, select the row above and below the row(s) that you want to unhide.
  • To unhide multiple non-adjacent rows, select all the rows between the first and last visible rows in the group.

For example, to unhide rows 3, 7, and 9, you select rows 2 - 10, and then use the ribbon, context menu or keyboard shortcut to unhide them.

How to unhide top rows in Excel

Hiding the first row in Excel is easy, you treat it just like any other row on a sheet. But when one or more top rows are hidden, how do you make them visible again, given that there is nothing above to select?

The clue is to select cell A1. For this, just type A1 in the Name Box, and press Enter.
To unhide the top row in Excel, select cell A1.

Alternatively, go to the Home tab > Editing group, click Find & Select, and then click Go To… . The Go To dialog window pops up, you type A1 in the Reference box, and click OK.
Select cell A1 using the Go To dialog.

With cell A1 selected, you can unhide the first hidden row in the usual way, by clicking Format > Unhide Rows on the ribbon, or choosing Unhide from the context menu, or pressing the unhide rows shortcut Ctrl + Shift + 9

Aside from this common approach, there is one more (and faster!) way to unhide first row in Excel. Simply hover over the hidden row heading, and when the mouse pointer turns into a split two-headed arrow, double click:
Unhide top rows is Excel by double-clicking.

Tips and tricks for hiding and unhiding rows in Excel

As you have just seen, hiding and showing rows in Excel is quick and straightforward. In some situations, however, even a simple task can become a challenge. Below you will find easy solutions to a few tricky problems.

How to hide rows containing blank cells

To hide rows that contain any blank cells, proceed with these steps:

  1. Select the range that contains empty cells you want to hide.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Find & Select > Go To Special.
  3. In the Go To Special dialog box, select the Blanks radio button, and click OK. This will select all empty cells in the range.
  4. Press Ctrl + 9 to hide the corresponding rows.

This method works well when you want to hide all rows that contain at least one blank cell, as shown in the screenshot below:
Hide rows that contain at least one blank cell.

If you want to hide blank rows in Excel, i.e. the rows where all cells are blank, then use the COUNTBLANK formula explained in How to remove blank rows to identify such rows.

How to hide rows based on cell value

To hide and show rows based on a cell value in one or more columns, use the capabilities of Excel Filter. It provides a handful of predefined filters for text, numbers and dates as well as an ability to configure a custom filter with your own criteria (please follow the above link for full details).

To unhide filtered rows, you remove filter from a specific column or clear all filters in a sheet, as explained here.

Hide unused rows so that only working area is visible

In situations when you have a small working area on the sheet and a whole lot of unnecessary blank rows and columns, you can hide unused rows in this way:

  1. Select the row beneath the last row with data (to select the entire row, click on the row header).
  2. Press Ctrl + Shift + Down arrow to extend the selection to the bottom of the sheet.
  3. Press Ctrl + 9 to hide the selected rows.

In a similar fashion, you hide unused columns:

  1. Select an empty column that comes after the last column of data.
  2. Press Ctrl + Shift + Right arrow to select all other unused columns to the end of the sheet.
  3. Press Ctrl + 0 to hide the selected columns. Done!

If you decide to unhide all cells later, select the entire sheet, then press Ctrl + Shift + 9 to unhide all rows and Ctrl + Shift + 0 to unhide all columns.

How to locate all hidden rows on a sheet

If your worksheet contains hundreds or thousands of rows, it can be hard to detect hidden ones. The following trick makes the job easy.

  1. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Find & Select > Go To Special. Or press Ctrl+G to open the Go To dialog box, and then click Special.
  2. In the Go To Special window, select Visible cells only and click OK.

Use the Go To Special dialog to select visible cells only.

This will select all visible cells and mark the rows adjacent to hidden rows with a white border:
The rows adjacent to hidden rows are marked with a white border.

How to copy visible rows in Excel

Supposing you have hidden a few irrelevant rows, and now you want to copy the relevant data to another sheet or workbook. How would you go about it? Select the visible rows with the mouse and press Ctrl + C to copy them? But that would also copy the hidden rows!

To copy only visible rows in Excel, you'll have to go about it differently:

  1. Select visible rows using the mouse.
  2. Go to the Home tab > Editing group, and click Find & Select > Go To Special.
  3. In the Go To Special window, select Visible cells only and click OK. That will really select only visible rows like shown in the previous tip.
  4. Press Ctrl + C to copy the selected rows.
  5. Press Ctrl + V to paste the visible rows.

Cannot unhide rows in Excel

If you have troubles unhiding rows in your worksheets, it's most likely because of one of the following reasons.

1. The worksheet is protected

Whenever the Hide and Unhide features are disabled (greyed out) in your Excel, the first thing to check is worksheet protection.

For this, go to the Review tab > Changes group, and see if the Unprotect Sheet button is there (this button appears only in protected worksheets; in an unprotected worksheet, there will be the Protect Sheet button instead). So, if you see the Unprotect Sheet button, click on it.

If you want to keep the worksheet protection but allow hiding and unhiding rows, click the Protect Sheet button on the Review tab, select the Format rows box, and click OK.
Allow hiding and unhiding rows in a protected workbook.

Tip. If the sheet is password-protected, but you cannot remember the password, follow these guidelines to unprotect worksheet without password.

2. Row height is small, but not zero

In case the worksheet is not protected but specific rows still cannot be unhidden, check the height of those rows. The point is that if a row height is set to some small value, between 0.08 and 1, the row seems to be hidden but actually it is not. Such rows cannot be unhidden in the usual way. You have to change the row height to bring them back.

To have it done, perform these steps:

  1. Select a group of rows, including a row above and a row below the problematic row(s).
  2. Right click the selection and choose Row Height… from the context menu.
  3. Type the desired number of the Row Height box (for example the default 15 points) and click OK.

This will make all hidden rows visible again.
If the row's height is small, but not zero, change it to unhide the row.

If the row height is set to 0.07 or less, such rows can be unhidden normally, without the above manipulations.

3. Trouble unhiding the first row in Excel

If someone has hidden the first row in a sheet, you may have problems getting it back because you cannot select the row before it. In this case, select cell A1 as explained in How to unhide top rows in Excel and then unhide the row as usual, for example by pressing Ctrl + Shift + 9.

4. Some rows are filtered out

When the row numbers in your worksheet turn blue, this indicates that some rows are filtered out. To unhide such rows, simply remove all filters on a sheet.

This is how you hide and undie rows in Excel. I thank you for reading and hope to see you on our blog next week!