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Excel Shortcut - See Hidden Cells


August 30, 2017 - by Bill Jelen

Excel Shortcut - See Hidden Cells

Do you think that you've hidden column G in Excel and no one will ever see it? Watch out for the sneaky person who uses F5 to select cells in the hidden column and then gets the data from the Formula Bar.

You’ve hidden column D, but you need to see what is in D2. Press Ctrl + G or F5 to open the Go To dialog. Type D2 and press Enter. The cell pointer moves to the hidden cell D2 and you can see the value in the formula bar. You can now use the Down Arrow to move within the hidden column D, always seeing the value in the formula bar.

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Video Transcript

Learn Excel From MrExcel, Podcast Episode 2142.

This one is an awesome trick. I used to hate the F5 dialog box. Even on this podcast 1500 episodes ago, I said that F5 is the most useless dialog box in the whole world. I would never imagine using it, it's dead to me, and people wrote in defending F5. I showed you a couple of episodes ago, after CONTROL+[, you can use F5, ENTER to get back, but I love this one.

Someone sent us NAME, TITLE, and YEARS OF SERVICE, but, look, it's columns E, F, and H. There's something hidden in G, and of course you know that they have protected this with a password, so I can not unprotect it, but even with it protected, check this out. I want to use F5 and what I'm interested in seeing is what's there in column G, row 11.

So, I'm going to go to G11, like that, press ENTER, and they take me in, alright? They don't unhide it but they take me in, and I can see up here that that heading says PAYROLL, and, sure enough, there is payroll data hidden here in all of these cells, and I just use the arrow keys to move throughout that column, and look up in the formula bar, and I can see what's in the hidden cells.

Whoops. I bet they didn’t think that that was possible: F5 to sneak into a hidden cell.

Well, hey. I want to thank you for stopping by. We’ll see you next time for another netcast from MrExcel.

Title Photo: realworkhard / Pixabay


Bill Jelen is the author / co-author of
MrExcel LIVe

A book for people who use Excel 40+ hours per week. Illustrated in full color.