Casual users of Microsoft Excel might be familiar with the basics of spreadsheet design, but the program also offers a few advanced features that are easily learned and can improve efficiency. Whether you want to calculate a cost-benefit analysis or track monthly expenses, there may be information on your spreadsheets that is useful but that you may not want to include on printouts, such as intermediate calculations or extraneous details. Excel gives you the option of designating such areas of your spreadsheet as non-printing areas.
Hiding blocks of cells
Launch Microsoft Excel by pressing your "Start" button and selecting the application from your list of available programs, or click on the icon if you have one saved on your desktop. Open an existing file that contains data rather than a blank worksheet. Create a backup file if necessary to protect yourself from inadvertently deleting data on the spreadsheet.
Highlight a row, column or specific cells in your spreadsheet. To select an entire row or column, point to the row or column headings (numbers for rows and letters for columns) until the regular mouse pointer turns into a right arrow (for row headings) or a down arrow (for column headings). Click the left mouse button to select the row or column. To select a block of cells, go to the first cell you want to highlight, click the left mouse button and drag the cursor until the desired block is selected. Then release the left mouse button.
Right-click your selected row, column or block of cells. Select "Hide" from the pop-up menu that appears. If the pop-up menu does not appear, try holding the Ctrl key and right-clicking on the selection. Once you select the "Hide" option, you will see that the selection is no longer visible on screen.
Print the worksheet. Select "File" from the menu bar or press Ctrl+P to print your worksheet. Verify that the selected row, column or block of text you designed to be hidden does not appear on the printed worksheet.
Hiding individual and non-adjacent cells
Left-click the cell you wish to hide. To select multiple non-adjacent cells, hold down the Ctrl key and left-click the desired cells.
Right-click your selection and select "Format" from the pop-up menu. In the "number" category, select "Custom" and manually type in ";;;" without the quotation marks in the "Type" box. Then click "Okay." You will notice that the cell(s) or block of cells are now hidden.
Print the worksheet. Select "File" from the menu bar or press Ctrl+P to print your worksheet. Verify that the selected cells you designed to be hidden do not appear on the printed worksheet.
Make sure you keep track of which cells you have hidden for future use. You can make notes on blank worksheets to remind yourself. Also make a backup copy of the worksheet with all the unhidden information. If you inadvertently hide a selection of text that you want to remain visible, you can use the "Undo" and "Redo" commands from the "Edit" menu on the toolbar to reverse the command.