How would someone know if I have hidden columns or rows in a sheet?

New Contributor

This was asked of me and I am not sure if there is another answer,

If  I have hidden rows/columns how would someone else know that when opening a workbook WITHOUT noticing that the columns may say A|B|F|G|H  showing that I have hidden C\D\E?

OR if I were to hide the column headings...?


Is there a way to see that somewhere that there are hidden columns/rows?


2 Replies
best response confirmed by jw211 (New Contributor)



An interesting question! On a number of levels.


Why does one hide rows or columns in the first place? Off the top of my head, I can think of at least a couple potential reasons for hiding columns...sometimes just because they're what we call "helper columns," used for processing/calculating, but off central stage because it's only the end result that matters; sometimes because they contain variables or factors that aren't for public consumption or inadvertently;nt alteration (e.g., percentage rates of this or that).


In general, I'm not aware of an easy or automatic way to flag the presence of hidden rows or columns.

  • If it's important that users not inadvertently change things yet be aware of the presence of hidden rows/columns, the creator or maintainer of the workbook could always add a comment to the "front sheet" alerting the user to the presence of said hidden sections.
  • If it's important that users not even know of the presence, it's probably possible to redesign the sheets so that those hidden rows or columns are placed elsewhere and altogether hidden, either in a protected and not visible sheet by themselves, or well off to the right or toward the bottom and again protected from inadvertent revelation.

Why does it matter? Who's asking?   (I ask, not to be rude, but the context of a question like you've asked needs also to be taken into account. If it's just a hypothetical, that's one thing; if there's a security or data integrity issue at stake, that's another.)

@mathetes Thank you for this quick and detailed response! The person asking me was a new excel user who had recently hidden some columns on a sheet in a workbook. It was not for security or data, it was just a hypothetical question that I was not sure if there was a true answer too.
Thanks again!