Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Understanding Views.

Understanding Views

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 17, 2020)


A view is a pattern for what information within a worksheet should look like. This pattern can be given a name and saved within Excel. The named view can later be recalled quickly. In some ways a view is similar to a scenario. (Scenarios are discussed in other issues of ExcelTips.) They differ, however, in that a scenario deals with the content (the values) stored in a worksheet, while a view is concerned with how the worksheet appears.

A view can contain information such as which rows and columns are visible, row height, column width, formatting characteristics, and window size and position. You can define and store several views of data in a worksheet. For instance, one view could show the entire worksheet, while another could show a condensed (or summary) view of the information. Still another could be used to show the full worksheet on the screen at one time.

To create a view, follow these steps:

  1. Format and situate your worksheet as you want it to appear.
  2. Display the View tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Custom Views tool in the Workbook Views group. Excel displays the Custom Views dialog box.
  4. Click on the Add button. Excel displays the Add View dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Add View dialog box.

  6. In the Name field, supply the name you want associated with this view. This name can be up to 255 characters long, including spaces.
  7. In the Include in View section, select the options that reflect what you want saved with this view. You can choose to include both print settings and hidden rows and columns.
  8. When you are satisfied with your settings, click the OK button. The current view is saved by Excel.

You can now proceed to adjust the formatting and display of your worksheet so it reflects what you want saved as the next view. Repeat this process to store the new view.

You should know that if your worksheet contains a defined data table (a range of cells specifically designated as a data table), then you won't be able to use custom views. If you try, you'll note that the Custom Views tool (step 3 in the above steps) is grayed out and cannot be selected.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7217) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Understanding Views.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is nine more than 2?

2021-02-06 16:47:08

John Mann

And for Excel 2010, with what ever is Microsoft's last update, I don't even have a Workbook Views group on the View tab. I did find a "Custom Views" tool when trying to customise the ribbon, but could only be added to custom group on the ribbon. I called that group "My Views" (very original!).

I could not find a tool to create or add a custom view, but after some experimenting found that the "Custom Views" tool I had added both add a new view or opened an existing view.

I'm not sure if I will be using it much - but may mess around with it a bit to see if it is usefull. Possibly for retaining moderately complex filtered views.

2020-07-21 14:26:42


When I first learned of these, I was excited like Correen. But after investing a large amount of time to make custom views for various sets of users, I found, like Alex, that they were not stable, and had to find a different solution.

2020-07-21 10:44:52


Correen: Not to be Mr. Negative, but I never use Views anymore, because they don't really work as intended. Excel is brittle and forgets one's settings. It was a good idea at the time, so all the more reason to migrate to Cloud reporting with modern databases. Excel's still good for ad hoc work and prototyping what you want to accomplish in more stable apps.

2020-07-21 09:16:17


....How am I only learning of this now??!! Love that! Thank you Mr. Wyatt!

2020-07-20 09:26:53


Allan: Yes, I agree about how this suggestion would enhance convenience for users of this newsletter!

2020-07-17 14:37:29


Wouldn't it be nice if every time Allen uses the below phrase, it would include the "other issue" location.. Thus. if each 'other issue' contained the phantom URL that would be helpful.
"Scenarios are discussed in other issues of ExcelTips."

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