When you work with multiple collaborators in Excel, do you ever need to hide some columns because you don’t want them to see the information of that certain column?Like hiding sensitive columns such as salary information in a list of employees for example? Perhaps you don’t just want the information to be visually hidden, but you want to literally prohibit them from accessing it. Here, we will firstly see how Excel (or Excel Online) may respond to this need. Secondly, we will see how RowShare, an online collaborative table complementing Excel, responds to this need.

Hiding Columns in Excel

You can hide columns in Excel by following these simple steps:
  1. Right click on the header of any column you want to hide
  2. Select Hide

Note: After the selected column is hidden, anyone with whom you share the file can still unhide the column.
So, to prevent this from happening, all you need to do is locking your Excel file once you hide the selected columns by protecting your sheet with password. You can do this by following these simple steps:
  1. Click on Review
  2. Click on Protect Sheet
  3. Set a password

Note: If you lose your password you can’t never modify your sheet anymore.
In case you want certain users to see the hidden column, you can send them the password, but, this also means that they can share your file with another person.

Sharing The File

The option one is: to store your Excel file in the cloud such as One Drive, Dropbox or Google Drive. Give the cloud access link to anyone you want to share your Excel file. As you store your Excel file in the cloud, each time you need to see or modify the hidden column(s), you must do the following steps:
  1. Unlock the sheet
  2. Unhide the column
  3. Make your changes
  4. Re-hide the column
  5. Re-lock the sheet again
Note: The file stored in the cloud is shared in real-time. It means that if there is another user accessing your file at the same time as you modify it, he/she would see your hidden information.
If you prefer to share your Excel the old-fashioned way, then another option is share it by email. Each time you need to see the make any modifications, you need to do the following steps:
  1. Unlock the sheet
  2. Make your changes
  3. Re-lock the sheet again
  4. Send the new modified version to all users
Note: If you use Excel online, you can hide a column but you can’t lock it. This means that anyone accessing your Excel Online file can unhide your hidden column.

Alternative Solution, Simpler, Easier

RowShare, an online collaborative table to the rescue! It is not meant to replace Excel. On the other hand, it offers an effective way to collect and share information, which complements Excel. So, use Excel to analyze data, and RowShare to maximize your collaboration! With RowShare, you can hide any column you want with just a few clicks of a mouse! Follow these very simple steps:
  1. Go to column settings by clicking on the gear icon on the header of any column you want to hide
  2. Hide the column by setting the column permission to: Column is hidden for contributors
Voila, now your column is hidden. You can modify it anytime. Only you, as a table owner, can see it. Here is a quick video tutorial: The cloud is where RowShare tables are stored. It means, anyone can access the same version the of any RowShare table anytime and anywhere. So, when you hide a column, that hidden column won’t be accessible in no delay to each and every user accessing the table. You, as the owner of the table, are the only person who can see it, unless you have a table co-owner who can also see the hidden column like you. You can name a table co-owner by using business version. Try our RowShare Business for free!
Tip: If you are too attached to work in Excel, RowShare makes it possible for you to do an Excel Sync!
Also, have a look at this article if you want to share different rows with different people.

Voila! All that’s left to be said is: Happy RowSharing!