Outlining Worksheets In Excel 2010

The Outline features let us control the level of details that will be shown in a data table or in a list of a worksheet. Once we have Outlined a table or a list, we can condense the table in order to show certain levels of information, and also easily expand the table or list to display various levels of data.

If we have a data list which we want to group and condense, we can create an outline up to eight different levels. The Outline feature helps us to show quickly a summary row or summary column, or to display all the data’s details for every group.

Creating An Outline

To create an Outline for the data of a table, we select a cell from where our data is and that we want to be grouped. Then we select the Data Tab and from the area of the ribbon named Outline, we select the command Group as we can see in the following image where from the drop down menu we select the command Auto Outline.


Straight away our data of the spreadsheet have been outlined as we can see in the image below.


Excel assumes that the summary rows in the data table are below their detailed data, and that the summary columns are to the right of the detailed data. If though, the summary rows are above and the summary columns are to the left, Excel can still build the outline

In order to do that we just select the right arrow that is in the corner of the Outline area of the Data tab, in order for the appropriate dialog box to appear as we can see in the image below.


In the window Settings that appears, we deactivate the check boxes next to the commands Summary Rows Below Detail or Summary Columns To Right. We could also make Excel to apply different styles to different levels of the outline by activating the check box Automatic Styles and pressing the Create button. If we press the OK button only Excel we close the dialog box and will not outline our data.


In the image below we see our data that have been grouped by line. We see that we have two level lines, and the one selected is level 2. We also notice the plus sign at the East area, which means that the details for the East area are not shown, as same with the North. We also see the minus sign at the levels of West and South where we can see the details of the data. If we press the plus symbol all the details of the other levels will expand and if we press the minus symbol all the details will condense. We also notice that when the details are condensed that only detail that appears is the summary amount of the each level.


By pressing on Level Line 1, automatically all the details of our data condense and only the lines that are about the summary amounts appear. By pressing the Level Line 2, all the details of our data expand with the summary lines.


In the image below we can see our data that have been outlined by column and the levels of the outline are eight.


Automatic Styles

As mentioned above, we can outline our data by using an Automatic Style. In order to use the Automatic Style, we must show the Settings dialog box, which is in the area Outline of the Data tab. Just before we do it, let’s take a look at the data of the image below. We have typed in the headings for our columns, we have typed in the summary amounts for each are below the months. No formatting has been applied to our data in order for them to be more understandable.


Then from the Settings dialog box as mentioned above we activate the Automatic Styles check box.


Once activated we press the Create button, and straight away our data has been outline with and Excel style. Now we see the outline of our data and that the area of the summary amounts of the areas has been applied with bold style. I believe now our data is more understandable are readable.



For us to ungroup an outline from our spreadsheet we must select the Data tab of and in the area of the ribbon named Outline we select the command Ungroup, and from the drop down menu to select the command Clear Outline as we can see in the image below.


Clearing the outline doesn’t affect our data in anyway. It also doesn’t matter if we have condensed or expand some rows or columns. By clearing the outline all the hidden rows and columns appear again.

Custom View

From the moment that we have created an outline for our data, we can create Custom Views in order on how the different levels of data to be shown. Instead of pressing the condense and expand button of our outlined area to show or to hide details we can create our own custom views for our needs.

For us to create a custom view we select the View Tab and in the area of the ribbon named Workbook Views we select the command Custom Views as shown below.


The Custom Views dialog box appears, and from the moment that we have hidden details from our outline area we press the Add button.


The Add View dialog box appears where we type in the name of the view in the Name text box area and press the OK button.


By pressing the OK button, the Add View dialog box closes and we return to our spreadsheet.

In the image below I have create two custom views, one for the areas East-West and one for the North-South.


When we select the East-West view and press on the Show button, the details for these areas will be shown as we can see below.


When we select the North-South view and press the Show button, the details for these areas will be shown as we can see below.


About Smart Office - philippospan

MVP: Honored with the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for OFFICE SYSTEM title for the years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 by Microsoft, for my contribution and commitment to the technical communities worldwide. Microsoft Master Specialist: This certification provides skill-verification tools that not only help assess a person's skills in using Microsoft Office programs but also the ability to quickly complete on-the-job tasks across multiple programs in the Microsoft Office system

Posted on November 27, 2011, in Excel 2010 English, Microsoft Office 2010 English and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Outlining Worksheets In Excel 2010.

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