Practice worksheet included with online video training.

Transcript 

By default, when you select a range of cells in Excel, hidden cells are also selected. This means that any data in hidden rows or columns is included when you copy a selection. Chances are, that's not what you want. In this video we'll show you how to work with visible cells only.

Here we have a list of real estate properties. Let's say we want to give this list to someone else, but without the data in columns E through I.

We can easily hide these columns; but if we then select all the properties, copy, and paste into another worksheet, we get all of the data, including the data in columns that are hidden.

This is because Excel selects both visible and hidden cells by default. To get around this problem, we need to tell Excel to select only visible cells.

First, make the selection normally. Then, on the home tab of the ribbon, click the Find & Select menu and choose Go To Special. In the Go To Special dialog, select Visible Cells Only.

[Mac: Edit > Go To > Special > Visible Cells Only]

Now you can copy the selection, and paste. Only data in cells that were visible will be copied. Back in the original worksheet, we can verify the selection by unhiding the columns. Now you can see the moving dashed line around the cells that were copied. Notice the cells that were hidden are not included.

If that seems like a lot of steps, you'll be happy to know that Excel provides a keyboard shortcut for selecting visible cells:

On Windows: use Alt ; (semicolon)
On a Mac: use Command Shift Z

Let's try it out. As before, we'll hide the columns and then make a normal selection. This time, however, we'll use Alt ; to change the selection to visible cells only.

Now we'll copy. When we paste, we get only the data from cells that were visible.

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AuthorMicrosoft Most Valuable Professional Award

Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.