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 Outline Symbols.

Hiding Outline Symbols

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 2, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Once you go through the process of outlining your data, you may want to hide the outline symbols that Excel normally displays at the left of the worksheet area. These symbols are helpful as you are working with the data, by may be distracting if you are presenting the data to others. To turn off the symbols, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the View tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The View tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Clear the Outline Symbols check box.
  5. Click on OK.

To again display the symbols, follow the same steps, but make sure the Outline Symbols check box is selected.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3020) 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 Outline Symbols.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

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. ...

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