Hidden cells errors

The risks posed by hidden cells (either rows or columns) in Excel.

Hidden cells errors in Excel

HIDDEN rows or columns can cause their own problems. Especially if you are working on someone else’s spreadsheet, or you have worked on a spreadsheet a while back and this is the first time you are coming back to it

For example you’ve got a very simple spreadsheet here, what you’d like to do is just add up the total expenses and that’s fairly simple

  • you sum them all
  • you agree that that’s fine,
  • you copy
  • and you paste them

If you look at that you’ll see that what seems to be happening is that it’s saying that 2 + 1 + 1 is actually 6, which is clearly wrong, and by you looking along the side you see that you actually have some hidden rows

when you unhide them,
You’ll see that this is effectively a subtotal, and by just simply adding up the entire section you’ve included, you’ve double counted numbers. This is an easy error to make especially as mentioned previously if it’s not your spreadsheet.

What can also happen is you can overwrite hidden columns by just copying over them and this can cause problems
Its useful to avoid hidden rows especially while you’re building a spreadsheet, and if you receive a spreadsheet from someone else it might be useful as a first guess, just to open up all hidden rows and columns just to make sure that you know what is actually being looked at.