How to Blank Out Cells in Excel

You might be wondering what is the need to Blank out cells in excel when you can simply use the work area in sheet and ignore rest of the cells. Well the answer is you do need to blank out the unused cells in excel when you do not want that users should enter any data or information into cells other than defined work area or you wish to conceal your sensitive information or formula.

So, to blank out the cell completely leaving the work area select the row from where you want to blank out cells and Press Ctrl Key + Shift key + Up/Down Arrow this will select all the rows in excel. Now Right Click on any row and click on Hide. In the same way select the column from where you need to blank out cell press Ctrl Key + Shift key + Right/Left Arrow. This will blank out all the cells and you work area will be the only highlight. You can also select the Hide option from the Home Toolbar, Cells Group- Format button. Clicking on the format button opens the menu which has a visibility section with a sub menu to Hide Rows or Columns. This will have the same action as selecting Hide from the Right Click menu.

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You can also blank out empty cells in Rows and Columns by reducing the default height or width to zero for selected rows and columns. To blank out cells in selected row click on Format button in Home toolbar under Cells group. Now select the Row Height entry under cell size heading. You will observe below screen. Just enter 0 and press Ok. Your selected cells of Row will be reduced to 0 height which is like using Hide Row option. Similarly, to blank out cells of a column you can reduce the Column width to 0 and achieve the same results using Hide Columns option.

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Now Let us understand this with an example of a University in which you need to fill in a form in excel get it printed, approved and submit to the Administrative Department.

The form has a small work area and lot of unnecessary rows and columns which makes the work area non-focusable. Some students might also start typing text or requests in empty area which might create issues in alignment of text while printing.

To keep the students focused on form and avoid any use of space outside work area we will Blank out the cells from each of the unused Rows and Columns. Select Column K since our work area is till column J only and press Ctrl Key + Shift Key + Right Arrow Key this will select all the cells till it reaches the end column of a worksheet. In case you want to blank out selected columns only then you can manually select the columns as desired.

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Now Right click on any column this will open the menu screen and select Hide from the Menu screen.

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On clicking Hide option all the selected columns will get hidden and you will be presented with below screen.

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Now select Column C and press Ctrl Key +Shift Key + Left Arrow key to select all cells from Column A to C

Right click to get the menu and select Hide option. You will observe that now all the columns are hidden and cells blanked out.

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Now to blank out the empty cell in Rows we will follow the similar procedure. In this case we will select Row 3 since below this row our work area starts and then press Ctrl Key + Shift Key + Up Arrow Key this will select all the rows from 1-3. Now right click on any row and select the Hide Option from the Menu.

You will observe that empty cells above the work area are now blanked out.

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Now we are left with empty cells of rows down to work area. So, we will select the Row number 21 since it is the row just after the last workspace row and then press Ctrl Key + Shift Key +Down Arrow Key.

This will select all the Rows till the end of limit of worksheet. Now right click on any row and select the Hide option from the menu.

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You will observe that all unwanted cells are now blanked out and you have only your workspace area left on the worksheet.

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Now our form is well focused on the worksheet and there is no empty cell to write any unwanted text.


Hope you understand this feature now and do not forget to try out yourself for sample case as described in the post.

Please comment for any queries you have or any valuable suggestions.

Happy Learning!


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