Excel Tips: Use White Font to Hide Data

Problem: As shown in Fig. 1221, your workbook needs extra columns in order to show a graph. You would prefer to hide this information from the user, but you don't want to completely hide the columns. What else can you do?

Note: Click any image below for a larger view of the figure.

Strategy: Highlight the extra cells and choose white text color. Use the dropdown next to the Font Color icon, as shown in Fig. 1222. When you choose the dropdown instead of the icon, you can choose a white color, as shown in Fig. 1223.

If you're using Excel 2007 or 2010, the tool for changing the font color is found in the Font grouping on the Home tab.

As shown in column M & N of Fig. 1224, this will prevent the cells from being seen or from printing (assuming the cell background color is also white). Just be careful not to forget the information is there and accidentally type over it.

Additional information: If you need to troubleshoot these cells, reselect the columns. As shown in Fig. 1225, against the dark highlighting you can see the results in white.

Summary: Selecting an area and choosing white text will prevent the cells from printing and the user from seeing them.

Commands Discussed: Format – Cells – Color


Fig. 1221
Fig. 1222
Fig. 1223
Fig. 1224
Fig. 1225

References and Additional Resources

If you're looking for more tips and tutorials, check out 91 Tips for Calculating With Microsoft Excel. This collection of easy-to-follow guides shows how to customize charts and graphs, different ways to make complex spreadsheets easier to update, quick formatting tricks and even how to play games like Craps in Excel. If you can't find the answer to your problem, leave a note in the Comments area below.

Other Resources:

Microsoft Excel Official Site, https://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel/

Bill Jelen, Microsoft Excel 2010 In Depth, Available from Amazon.com.