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

If you’ve ever worked with spreadsheets, you know how overwhelming it can be to manage tons of rows. Collapsing rows in Excel makes your data cleaner and easier to navigate. Here’s how to do it: You’ll use the grouping feature to collapse rows under a header, making your spreadsheet more manageable.

How to Collapse Rows in Excel

In this guide, you’ll learn how to collapse rows in Excel to make your data sheets more efficient and easier to read. Let’s dive into the steps!

Step 1: Select the Rows

Highlight the rows you want to collapse.

To do this, click on the row numbers on the left side of the screen. Hold down the mouse button and drag to select multiple rows. It’s crucial to choose all the rows you wish to include in the collapse.

Step 2: Go to the Data Tab

Click on the "Data" tab at the top of the Excel window.

The "Data" tab includes various tools for managing your data. This is where you’ll find the Grouping feature, which allows you to collapse rows.

Step 3: Click on Group

Under the "Outline" section, click on "Group."

Once you click "Group," a dialogue box may appear asking if you want to group by rows or columns. Make sure you select "Rows" because that’s what we’re focusing on.

Step 4: Collapse the Rows

Click the minus (-) sign that appears next to the row numbers.

This symbol will appear on the left of your spreadsheet after grouping. Clicking it will collapse the rows, making them hidden under a single header row.

Step 5: Expand the Rows

To show the rows again, click the plus (+) sign that appears where the minus sign was.

This lets you easily switch between showing and hiding the detailed rows. It’s handy when you need to see all the data temporarily.

After you complete these steps, the selected rows will collapse under a header, making your spreadsheet less cluttered and easier to read. You can expand them whenever you need to see the hidden data again.

Tips for Collapsing Rows in Excel

  • Always save your work before making large changes.
  • Use headers to label groups for easy identification.
  • Collapse rows to focus on summary data without distractions.
  • Test the grouping feature in a small section first.
  • Use keyboard shortcuts for faster workflow (e.g., Alt + Shift + Right Arrow).

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the benefit of collapsing rows in Excel?

Collapsing rows makes large datasets easier to manage and navigate, allowing you to focus on summary information without distractions.

Can you collapse columns in Excel?

Yes, you can collapse columns using a similar process. Select the columns, go to the "Data" tab, and click "Group."

Does collapsing rows delete the data?

No, collapsing rows does not delete any data. It simply hides it from view until you choose to expand the rows again.

How do I ungroup rows?

To ungroup rows, select the grouped rows again, go to the "Data" tab, and click "Ungroup."

Can I collapse multiple groups in one worksheet?

Yes, you can create multiple groups in the same worksheet. Each group will have its own collapse/expand control.


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


Collapsing rows in Excel is a simple yet powerful way to tidy up your spreadsheets. This feature helps you focus on what’s important by hiding the detailed data you don’t need to see all the time. It’s especially useful for larger datasets where scrolling through endless rows can become a real chore.

Remember, you can always expand the rows when you need to dive into the specifics, giving you the best of both worlds—clean, readable sheets and detailed data when required. If you’re handling complex spreadsheets regularly, mastering this feature can save you a lot of time and effort.

Next, consider exploring other Excel features like pivot tables and conditional formatting to further enhance your data management skills. Why not give it a try now? Open Excel and start collapsing those rows!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy