Hide columns one one tab same way as they were in another place [quick tip]

Excel Howtos - 7 comments

One of the regular reporting tasks I do involves a manual step I hated. It goes like this:

  • Dump several columns of data in the template file.
  • Hide a particular set of columns (these are not together, so must be done one at a time or with CTRL+selection)
  • Save and publish the file.

After doing this manually for last few fortnights, today I wanted to automate the column hide process. I was about to write a VBA macro to clone the hide settings from one workbook to another. But then I thought, may be paste special can be of use.

And what do you know. It does exactly that.

  1. Copy a row of cells in original report, doesn’t matter which ones
  2. Paste special > column widths (ALT+ESW) on the new report
  3. Any hidden columns in original will be set to ‘0’ width, thus becoming hidden in new report.
  4. Bingo!

Here is a quick demo of this in action. Check it out and apply next time you are doing something tedious like this.



There you go. Paste prevents painful problems.

Other ways Paste Special saves the day

Paste special is one of the top time saving features in Excel.  Here are few of my favorite paste special tricks.

What is your favorite Paste Special moment?

Let’s get personal. What is your favorite paste special moment? Share it in the comments.


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7 Responses to “Hide columns one one tab same way as they were in another place [quick tip]”

  1. Gino says:

    Now that's slick... 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Rob T says:

    Nice tip.

    For Paste Special via keyboard shortcut, I prefer Ctrl+Alt+V, as it's more intuitive ("an ALTered version of Paste!"). Plus, if you're a serial Copy-Cut-Paster, like me, you've often got your fingers in the right position anyway.

  3. Vivek V Phadke says:

    I tried the steps But getting the hidden column right but all blank. Am I getting it wrong? Have to paste Ctrl+V again to get the data

  4. MF says:

    Indeed, we may copy the data directly. After paste, click on the smart tag and then select "keep source columns width"
    or short cut: Copy V, Ctrl, W

  5. Bhavani Seetal Lal says:

    Hi Sir,

    Thank You for this trick.

    Good Day

  6. f(x)dx says:

    Two alternatice soluytion of thi cery, very common problem:
    1. Grouping Columns and then hiding/unhiding using them by '+' buttons.
    pros: very intuitive and provides opportunity for different levels of fidden columns.
    cons: requires initial setting and '+' buttons might look ugly

    2. Use Custom views (Workbook Views on 'View' tab)
    pros: very flexible - you might save and use different views of the sheet
    cons: requires initial setting

    However, solution offered above gives you the opportunity to Copy and paste the view from one sheet/file to another.
    Thanks for sharing it!

  7. kaustubh says:


    Thanks for this beautiful trick.

    Thanks for sharing it.

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