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: Understanding Outlining.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 22, 2020)
Excel includes a feature that allows you to outline your data. This simply means that Excel analyzes your data and assigns different rows to different "levels." These levels can then be selectively hidden or displayed, depending on your needs. An outline is handy for getting a quick understanding of large amounts of data.
You can create an outline in several ways:
Once your data is outlined, outline symbols appear at the left side of the worksheet. You can display different levels of data by using the mouse to click on the various symbols.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2542) 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: Understanding Outlining.
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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.