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Excel Tips & Tricks

Excel Tips and Tricks #460 – Revisiting hidden worksheets

Author: Jonelle Johnson-Turner

Published: 11 Nov 2022

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Hello and welcome back to the Excel Tips and Tricks! This week, we are revisiting a Creator post in which we are looking at how hiding and unhiding worksheets works.

Hiding a worksheet

If a worksheet will not be needed on a regular basis - say for example it is a sheet with the text for dropdown menus elsewhere in the workbook, or a set of basic model data that is unlikely to change - you can hide it. Hiding a worksheet will mean that users will not see the sheet, but that the values in it are still stored in the file. This simplifies navigation in books with many worksheets.
You can hide a worksheet from the View tab, or by right clicking on the sheet tab at the bottom of the screen:

Excel screenshot

The same menus also allow you to unhide a hidden worksheet if you need to review or update it.

(Un)hiding multiple sheets

Excel will allow you to hide and unhide multiple worksheets at once. To select multiple sheets at a time, hold down the Ctrl key while selecting individual sheets. If you need to select several consecutive sheets, select the first sheet, then hold down the Shift key when clicking on the last sheet in your range to select all the sheets in between.

'Very hidden' worksheets

It is possible to set a worksheet to not only be hidden, but not to appear on the list of hidden sheets. This status, called 'very hidden', is available only from the VBA Editor (Alt + F11):

Excel screenshot

These worksheets can be made visible again only by using the VBA editor or a VBA script. Whether or not hiding worksheets in this way is good practice is an ongoing debate!

Reviewing spreadsheets with hidden sheets

It is important to check for hidden and ‘very hidden’ worksheets when performing a review of a spreadsheet. There may also be instances where a formula may reference to hidden and ‘very hidden’ sheets which may mean additional logic is obscured from view. This may be deliberate to aid usability, but it is important to consider that it may also be deliberate to make the data manipulation less transparent!

If you are looking for more information on how to review spreadsheets for hidden sheets, you may refer to this ICAEW thought leadership piece on ‘How to review a spreadsheet’. You will also find more information on how to use the INFO function to help check for hidden sheets.