Outlining Data

Use outlines in Excel to help organize your data into groups and summarize data for easier analysis.

Showing and hiding data

To show or hide a group:

  1. Click the minus sign—also known as the Hide Detail symbol—to collapse the group.
    Hiding an expanded groupHiding an expanded group
  2. Click the plus sign—also known as the Show Detail symbol—to expand the group again.
    Showing a collapsed groupShowing a collapsed group

You can also use the show detailor hide detail commands on the Data tab in the Outline group. Select a cell in the group you want to show or hide, then click the appropriate command.

To view groups by level:

The groups in your outline, based on their hierarchy, are placed on different levels. You can quickly display as little or as much information as you want by clicking the level symbols level 1, 2, 3 to the left of your worksheet. In this example, we will view levels in descending order, starting with the entire worksheet on display, then finishing with the grand total. While this example contains only three levels, Excel can accommodate up to eight.

  1. Click the highest level (level 3 in this example) to view and expand all of your groups. Viewing groups at the highest level will display the entirety of your worksheet.
    Viewing data at the highest levelViewing data at the highest level
  2. Click the next level (level 2 in this example) to hide the detail of the previous level. In this example, level 2 contains each subtotal.
    Viewing data on level 2Viewing data on level 2
  3. Click the lowest level (level 1 in this example) to display the lowest level of detail. In this example, level 1 contains only the grand total.
    Viewing data on level 1Viewing data on level 1