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How to show or hide outline symbols in Excel?

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When you want to summarize or do some subtotals for the data in your worksheet, there will be the outline symbols that Excel normally displays at the left of the worksheet area (as following screenshots shown).Sometimes, you don’t need these outline symbols, but sometimes, you want to show it. How could you turn the outline symbols on and off quickly in Excel?
Show or hide outline symbols with shortcut keys
Show or hide outline symbols with Excel Options
Show or hide outline symbols with Kutools for Excel good idea3
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arrow blue right bubble Show or hide outline symbols with shortcut keys


Here is an easy way to help you to toggle the outline symbols between showing and hiding. This hide and display shortcut is ctrl + 8. Where the 8 is only using the key under the function keys, not the key in the Num keypad.

Active the worksheet which contains the outline symbols, then press ctrl + 8 keys repeatedly to toggle the outline symbols between hiding and displaying.

Note: with this shortcut keys, you can only show or hide the outline symbols in the active sheet, if you want to apply it to the whole workbook, this way will not work.


Show or hide outline symbols with Excel Options

In the Excel Options dialog box, you can turn the outline symbols on and off with clicks. Please do as follows:

1. Open the Excel Options dialog box by clicking File> Options in Excel 2010/2013. ( In Excel 2007, click Office button.)

2. In the Excel Options dialog box, click Advanced, and go to Display options for this worksheet section, specify the worksheet that you want to show or hide the outline symbols from the drop down list, then check or uncheck Show outline symbols if an outline is applied as you need to show or hide the outline symbols.

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3. Then click OK, the outline symbols in the specified worksheet will be hidden or displayed at once.


Show or hide outline symbols with Excel Options

The above two methods only are applied to the specific worksheet, but if you want to show or hide the outline symbols in the whole workbook, you just repeat the way one by one.

But if you have Kutools for Excel’s View Options utility, you can quickly toggle the outline symbols between hiding and showing either in a worksheet or a workbook.

Kutools for Excel, with more than 120 handy functions, makes your jobs easier.

After installing Kutools for Excel, please do as below:(Free Download Kutools for Excel Now!)

1. Click Kutools > Show / Hide > View Options, see screenshot:

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2. In the View Options dialog box, under the Window options section, check or uncheck the Outline symbols to show or hide the outline symbols. If you want to apply this function to the whole workbook, you can click Apply to all sheets button at the bottom of the dialog box. See screenshot:

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3. Then click OK to finish this option.

The View Options tool makes it possible to show or hide most of Microsoft Excel settings quickly, such as Inner Tabs, Formula Bar, Status Bar, Windows in Taskbar, Gridlines, Page Breaks, Display Zeros, Vertical Scrollbar, Horizontal Scrollbar, Sheet Tabs, … etc. It will save your time in looking for these setting when you need to show or hide them.

Tip.If you want to quickly show or hide multiple sheets across workbooks, please try to use the Kutools for Excel’s Hide/Unhide Workbooks and Sheets as shown in the following screenshot. It’s full function without limitation in 60 days, please download and have a free trial now.

Hide/Unhide Worksheets utility can help you hide or unhide multiple sheets across workbooks.

excel add in tools for Hiding and showing multiple sheets


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