How to Collapse Rows in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Collapsing rows in Excel is a neat trick to organize your data better. It allows you to hide certain rows you don’t want to see or don’t need at the moment, keeping your worksheet looking tidy and focused on the information you need. It’s a simple process that involves grouping rows together and then collapsing them into a single row.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Collapse Rows in Excel

Before we dive into the step-by-step guide, let’s understand what collapsing rows will do. Essentially, it will group rows of your choice together so that you can expand or minimize them with a single click. This is especially helpful when dealing with large datasets.

Step 1: Select the Rows You Want to Collapse

Click on the number of the first row you want to collapse, then drag down to the last row.

Selecting the right rows is crucial because once they’re collapsed, you’ll only see the top row of the grouped rows. Make sure not to include any headers or titles you want to remain visible.

Step 2: Go to the Data Tab

Click on the Data tab in the Excel ribbon at the top of the page.

The Data tab is where all the magic happens regarding organizing your data. It’s where you’ll find the Group and Ungroup features, which are essential for collapsing rows.

Step 3: Click on Group

In the Data tab, find and click on the ‘Group’ button.

This will group the rows you’ve selected together under a bracket-like icon on the left side of the rows. A small minus sign will appear on the bracket, indicating that the rows are currently expanded.

Step 4: Collapse the Group

Click on the minus sign on the bracket to collapse the rows.

Now that your rows are grouped, you can easily collapse or expand them with a single click. When collapsed, a plus sign will appear in place of the minus sign, indicating that there’s more to see.

After you’ve collapsed the rows, your Excel sheet will look much neater. You can focus on the data that matters without getting distracted by the rest. If you need to see the hidden rows again, simply click on the plus sign, and they will expand back to their original state.

Tips on Collapsing Rows in Excel

  • Before collapsing rows, make sure you don’t need to perform any operations on the hidden data, as you won’t be able to see them.
  • You can collapse multiple groups of rows at the same time by selecting them all before clicking ‘Group.’
  • Use descriptive names for the top row of each group to easily identify the content of the collapsed rows.
  • Remember that you can also collapse columns in a similar way if you need to tidy up horizontally.
  • Collapsed rows can still be included in calculations and formulas, so don’t worry about losing any data.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I collapse rows without grouping them?

No, you need to group rows before you can collapse them.

Grouping is essential for collapsing rows as it tells Excel which rows belong together. Without this step, collapsing wouldn’t be possible.

Will collapsing rows affect my data?

No, collapsing rows will not change or delete any of your data.

It simply hides the rows from view, allowing you to focus on specific parts of your worksheet without distraction. All data remains intact and accessible when you expand the rows.

Can I collapse rows with a keyboard shortcut?

Yes, you can use the Alt + Shift + Left/Right arrow keys to group and collapse rows.

This shortcut is a quick and easy way to group rows without using the mouse and the Data tab. Remember that left arrow groups and right arrow ungroups.

How can I ungroup rows after collapsing them?

You can ungroup rows by selecting the group and clicking ‘Ungroup’ in the Data tab.

If you decide you no longer need the rows to be grouped, simply ungroup them and they’ll return to their normal state, no longer collapsing.

Can I save an Excel file with collapsed rows?

Yes, the file will save with the rows collapsed, and they’ll be in the same state when you reopen the file.

This is useful if you want to prepare a worksheet for presentation and only show the necessary data.


  1. Select the Rows You Want to Collapse
  2. Go to the Data Tab
  3. Click on Group
  4. Collapse the Group


Mastering how to collapse rows in Excel can revolutionize the way you handle data. Whether you’re preparing a report, analyzing a dataset, or just trying to keep your workspace tidy, collapsing rows can help you focus on what’s essential. Remember to group the rows before collapsing them, and don’t worry about losing any data – it’s all still there, just tucked away until you need it again. With practice, collapsing rows will become second nature, and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. So why not give it a go and see the difference it makes to your Excel experience?

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