Excel allows us to collapse or expand an entire row, column, outline or group of data. In this tutorial, we will learn how to collapse multiple columns. We will also learn how to expand or collapse rows and outlines in Pivot table fields.

Figure 1 – How to collapse cells

How to Collapse Rows within a Group

  • When we have a group in a Pivot table we wish to collapse, we will click on the (-) minus button at the side of the group’s bar to collapse the row.

Figure 2 – Collapsing cells

  • If we do not have a Pivot table, we can also collapse rows in Excel by selecting any cell in the group. Next, we will go to the Data Tab and select Hide detail in the Outline group.

Figure 3 – How to collapse rows

Display the Expand/Collapse buttons

  • We may not always find the minus or plus buttons turned on automatically. To display the expand/collapse buttons, we will go to the Pivot table Tools tab and click on the Analyze tab.
  • Next, we will click on the table +/- Buttons command to toggle the buttons on or off

Figure 4 – Display Expand/Collapse buttons

How to Collapse or Expand the Entire Outline to a Specific Level

When we want to collapse or expand all groups at a particular level, we will click on the corresponding outline number at the top left corner of the worksheet. In our data, we have 3 outline levels.

Figure 5 – Collapse rows outline

  • When we want to collapse our outline to show only 2 outline levels, we will click on the number 2

Figure 6 – Collapsing rows outline

  • If we want to collapse further to 1 outline, we will click on the number 1.

Figure 7 – Collapsing rows outline

How to Uncollapse Rows

When we want to expand rows in a particular group, we will click on any cell and go to the Data Tab to select the Show Detail button found in the Outline group.

Figure 8 – How to expand all rows

How to Collapse Columns

We do not collapse columns in Pivot Tables. However, we can collapse columns in Excel.

  • We will highlight Column B and C

Figure 9 – Collapsing columns

  • Next, we will click on Data and select Group

Figure 10 – How to collapse columns

  • We will find the collapse/expand sign beneath the formula bar
  • Now, we will click on the Minus sign (-) to collapse columns

Figure 11 – Collapse 2 columns

  • We can always click on the (+) at any time to expand or restore columns.

Figure 12 – Uncollapse columns