Following on from my last post Controlling rows & columns, let’s look at some further ways you can control your rows and columns:

  • Selecting multiple rows/columns
  • Deleting unwanted rows & columns
  • Hiding rows and columns
  • Freezing rows and columns

Selecting multiple rows or columns

There are two ways to select more than one row or column.

First, if the rows or columns you want to select are all next to each other, then simply click on the first one and drag the cursor along to the last one. You’ll see the rows or columns being highlighted. You can then right click to access the menu if you want.

Multiple columns    Multiple rows

If the rows or columns are not all next to each other, click on the first one, then hold down Ctrl key (Cmd on the Mac) and click on the ones you want.

Multiple columns Ctrl

Deleting unwanted rows and columns

By default, the sheet has columns from A to Z and rows from 1 to 1000. Sometimes you only use a few rows and columns and you have the option of delete the rows and columns you’re not using. This is mainly just a visual thing, but it does help focus the users of your sheet on the area being used and looks a little bit tidier.

To do this, just select the columns you don’t need, following the instructions above, right click and select “Delete columns X – X”.

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You can always add columns again by selecting the last column, right clicking and choosing “Insert 1 right”.

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If you want to insert more than one, select the number of columns you want, right click and select “Insert X right”.

Deleting unwanted rows is a similar process. Select the rows you don’t need, right click and select “Delete rows X – X”.

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You’ll be left with just the cells you want.

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You can also add more rows again, but Sheets give you a quick way to do this. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the Add button and next to it, a number plus “more rows at the bottom. Let’s add 5 extra rows. Type in “5” in the box and click “Add”.

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The extra rows will appear at the bottom. Note, it will copy the formatting of that last row, so you may have to reformat them.

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Hiding and unhiding rows and columns

In the same menu as we used above to insert and delete rows and columns, you’ll find the option to “Hide rows” or “Hide columns”. It will be hidden and between the two visible columns, e.g. here G and I, you see two little triangles, showing you that there’s a hidden column there.

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To unhide you can either click on the little triangles between the columns.

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Or you can select the columns either side of the hidden one(s) and right-click and then select “Unhide columns”.

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Freezing rows and columns

Finally, if you’ve got lots of rows or columns, when you move along to the right or down, the previous rows or columns disappear as you can only see a limited amount of these on the screen at any one time. This is a particular problem with row or column headers. For example, you scroll down your sheet and then forget what the numbers in the columns are.

Fortunately, there’s a way to “freeze” the initial rows or columns so that they are always visible wherever you are on the sheet.

Here we have the points scored by players in a league. So, first I want to freeze the first row, which shows the game and total information.

1) Click on a cell in row 1.

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2) Click on the View menu then “Freeze”.

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You have the option of freezing 1 row (first one), 2 rows (first two) or if you were on a row further down, you can freeze all the rows up until and including that row.

3) For this example, I just want the first row, so I click on “1 row”.

Scrolling down, I can see that the first row always stays visible even when I get to the bottom row.

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Next I want to freeze the first column with the player numbers. Freezing a column is similar to above.

1) Click on a cell in column A, then click on the View menu then “Freeze”.

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2) Click on “1 column”.

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As you can see, now column A always stays visible.

To “unfreeze” rows or columns, go to the View menu and “freeze” and select either “No rows” or “No columns”.

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Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)