How to Hide Individual Cells in Excel (But Still Use Them in Formulas)

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Previously we talked about hiding entire rows or columns [LINK TO PREVIOUS], which is a fairly straightforward endeavor.

hero (5)Something a little less obvious is how to hide an individual cell within an Excel workbook. Deleting the cell clears it, but you can no longer use its contents for formulas. It’s not the best option. Instead, we’re going to use a little trick most Excel users probably didn’t know, and it all involves a few semicolons.

  1. Open an Excel workbook. I’m going to create a new one and enter dummy data, but this will work fine on an existing spreadsheet as well. Save your data first, just in case. 
    new (5)
  2. Select the cell you wish to hide, and right-click. 
    click
  3. Choose Format Cells option from the dropdown. 
    format (1)
  4. Set the format as Custom under the Number tab. 
    custom
  5. Enter ;;; (three semicolons) as the format. 
    semicolons
  6. Press OK. The cell is now hidden, but the data remains. You can still apply this as part of a formula without skewing the data, which is perfect for hiding sensitive information, like a social security number -- although you shouldn’t be storing those in spreadsheets anyway. 
    ok (3)
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