Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. 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 Outlining.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 5, 2020)
Excel includes a feature that allows you to outline your data. This simply means that Excel analyzes your data and assigns different rows to different "levels." These levels can then be selectively hidden or displayed, depending on your needs. An outline is handy for getting a quick understanding of large amounts of data.
You can create an outline in several ways:
Once your data is outlined, outline symbols appear at the left side of the worksheet. You can display different levels of data by using the mouse to click on the various symbols.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10088) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Understanding Outlining.
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Outline symbols are automatically displayed by Excel when you add subtotals or organize your data using an outline. If ...Discover More
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