Hiding and showing data

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When elements are hidden, they are neither visible nor printed, but can still be selected for copying if you select the elements around them. For example, if column B is hidden, it is copied when you select columns A and C. When you need a hidden element again, you can reverse the process, and show the element.

To hide or show sheets, rows, and columns, use the options on the Format menu or the right-click (context) menu. For example, to hide a row, first select the row, and then choose Format > Row > Hide (or right-click and choose Hide).

To hide or show selected cells, choose Format > Cells from the menu bar (or right-click and choose Format Cells). On the Format Cells dialog, go to the Cell Protection tab.

Hiding or showing cells

Outline group controls

If you are continually hiding and showing the same cells, you can simplify the process by creating outline groups, which add a set of controls for hiding and showing the cells in the group that are quick to use and always available.

If the contents of cells falls into a regular pattern, such as four cells followed by a total, then you can use Data > Group and Outline > AutoOutline to have Calc add outline controls based on the pattern. Otherwise, you can set outline groups manually by selecting the cells for grouping, then choosing Data > Group and Outline > Group. On the Group dialog, you can choose whether to group the selected cells by rows or columns.

When you close the dialog, the outline group controls are visible between either the row or column headers and the edges of the editing window. The controls resemble the tree-structure of a file-manager in appearance, and can be hidden by selecting Data > Outline > Hide Details. They are strictly for online use, and do not print.

The basic outline controls have plus or minus signs at the start of the group to show or hide hidden cells. However, if one or more outline group is nested in another, the controls have numbered buttons for hiding different levels of group.

If you no longer need a group, place the mouse cursor in any cell in it and select Data > Group and Outline > Ungroup. To remove all groups on a sheet, select Data > Group and Outline > Remove.

Outline group controls

Filtering which cells are visible

A filter is a list of conditions that each entry has to meet in order to be displayed. You can set three types of filters from the Data > Filter sub-menu.

Automatic filters add a drop-down list to the top row of a column that contains commonly used filters. They are quick and convenient, and, because the condition includes every unique entry in the selected cells, are almost as useful with text as with numbers.

In addition to each unique entry, automatic filters include the option to display all entries, the ten highest numerical values, and all cells that are empty or not-empty, as well as a standard filter. Their drawback is that they are somewhat limited. In particular, they do not allow regular expressions, so you cannot display contents that are similar, but not identical, by using automatic filters.

Standard filters are more complex than automatic filters. You can set as many as three conditions as a filter, combining them with the operators AND and OR. Standard filters are mostly useful for numbers, although a few of the conditional operators, such as = and < > can also be useful for text.

Other conditional operators for standard filters include options to display the largest or smallest values, or a percentage of them. Useful in themselves, standard filters take on added value when used to further refine automatic filters.

Advanced filters are structured similarly to standard filters. The differences are that advanced filters are not limited to three conditions, and their criteria are not entered in a dialog. Instead, advanced filters are entered in a blank area of a sheet, then referenced by the advanced filter tool to apply them.

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