Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.
With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company.
Learn more about Allen...
Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Hiding and Protecting Columns.
Roger has a worksheet that he needs to distribute to different people so they can add and change some information. He wants to hide some of the columns in the worksheet, however, so that they cannot be viewed by users. He knows how to protect the worksheet and how to hide data in cells, but noticed that info is still visible in the formula bar.
Since you already know how to protect a worksheet, you are already on your way to accomplishing your task. These are the steps you should follow:
Figure 1. The Protection tab of the Format Cells dialog box.
Figure 2. The Protect Sheet dialog box.
At this point someone cannot view what is in the hidden column, even if they use F5 to jump to one of the cells in the column; it still won't appear in the formula bar. There is one caveat to all this. If you have some cells in the worksheet (or workbook) that are unlocked, so that the contents of the cell can be changed, it is still possible to see what is in individual cells of the column. How? Two methods, really:
The bottom line is that it is virtually impossible to 100% protect the contents of the column so that they cannot be viewed. Using the protection features of Excel makes it more difficult, but a determined user may be able to still view the contents in the described manner.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2781) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Hiding and Protecting Columns.
Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!