How to Hide Formulas in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Hiding formulas in Excel is a handy trick to keep your data secure and your spreadsheet clean. It’s especially useful when sharing your work with others. With just a few clicks, you can prevent anyone from viewing or editing your formulas. Here’s a quick overview: select the cell with the formula, go to the ‘Format Cells’ dialog box, check the ‘Hidden’ box under the ‘Protection’ tab, and finally, protect the worksheet. Voilà! Your formula is now hidden.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Hide Formulas in Excel

Before diving into the steps, it’s important to understand that hiding formulas in Excel involves two parts: marking the formula as hidden and then protecting the worksheet. With these steps, you’ll ensure that your formulas remain a secret.

Step 1: Select the Cell with the Formula

Click on the cell that contains the formula you want to hide.

Selecting the cell is the first step because you need to tell Excel which formula to hide. Make sure you click on the actual cell, not just the formula bar.

Step 2: Open the ‘Format Cells’ Dialog Box

Right-click the selected cell and choose ‘Format Cells’ from the context menu.

The ‘Format Cells’ dialog is where you can change many cell attributes, including the hidden property.

Step 3: Navigate to the ‘Protection’ Tab

In the ‘Format Cells’ dialog box, click on the ‘Protection’ tab.

The ‘Protection’ tab is often overlooked, but it’s where the option to hide formulas is located.

Step 4: Check the ‘Hidden’ Box

In the ‘Protection’ tab, you’ll see a checkbox labeled ‘Hidden’. Click it to check the box.

Checking the ‘Hidden’ box won’t immediately hide the formula. It just marks it as a cell that should be hidden when the worksheet is protected.

Step 5: Protect the Worksheet

Click ‘OK’ to close the ‘Format Cells’ dialog box and then go to the ‘Review’ tab on the Excel ribbon and click ‘Protect Sheet’.

Protecting the worksheet is what actually hides the formula. Without this step, the ‘Hidden’ mark from Step 4 won’t do anything.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your formula will be hidden. If someone tries to select the cell, they’ll only see the result of the formula, not the formula itself. They also won’t be able to edit the formula unless they unprotect the sheet, which you can password-protect for extra security.

Tips: Enhancing Formula Hiding in Excel

  • Always remember to protect the worksheet after hiding formulas; otherwise, the formulas won’t be hidden.
  • Consider password-protecting the sheet to prevent unauthorized users from unprotecting it and viewing the formulas.
  • Only give the password to trusted individuals who may need to edit the formulas.
  • If you need to edit the formulas later, you can unprotect the sheet, make your changes, and then re-protect it.
  • Use cell formatting, like font color or cell shading, to remind yourself which cells contain hidden formulas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I hide multiple formulas at once?

Yes, you can select multiple cells, rows, or columns and follow the same steps to hide formulas in bulk.

Will hiding formulas affect the way my spreadsheet works?

No, hiding formulas only affects the visibility of the formulas, not their functionality.

Can I still copy and paste cells with hidden formulas?

Yes, you can still copy and paste cells with hidden formulas, but the pasted cells will also have the formulas hidden if the worksheet is protected.

Is there a way to hide all formulas in the sheet quickly?

You can select the entire sheet by clicking the top left corner between ‘A’ and ‘1’, and then follow the steps to hide and protect all formulas in the sheet.

What if I forget the password to unprotect the sheet?

Unfortunately, if you forget the password, there is no easy way to unprotect the sheet. Make sure to keep a record of your passwords in a safe place.


  1. Select the cell with the formula.
  2. Open the ‘Format Cells’ dialog box.
  3. Navigate to the ‘Protection’ tab.
  4. Check the ‘Hidden’ box.
  5. Protect the worksheet.


Hiding formulas in Excel is a breeze once you know how to do it. Whether you’re a teacher safeguarding your grading formulas, a business analyst protecting sensitive calculations, or just someone who likes to keep their spreadsheet neat and tidy, this skill is an asset. Remember, the key steps are to mark the formula as hidden and then protect the sheet. With the provided tips and answers to frequently asked questions, you’re now equipped to handle your Excel data with even greater confidence. And if you ever get stuck or need a refresher, this article will be here to guide you through how to hide formulas in Excel. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch your Excel prowess grow!

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