Excel Tips and Tricks

How to: Data Grouping in Excel

Why use grouping?

If you have an elaborate excel spreadsheet, grouping can help you navigate by hiding information that isn’t essential.  However, that information is still there and easy to access!  Your entire budget might be laid out like this –

There is tons of good info, but it isn’t very easy to pull out the most important stuff at a glance!  With grouping, we get something like this…

…where all the information is succinct and easy to find!  This is great for making budget decisions or making a budget presentation, or really any situation where you need data in excel but DON’T need an excess of rows distracting from the bottom line.

Adding grouping in excel

When a spreadsheet is getting a little crowded, we can work a little magic to make things nice and tidy.  On the ribbon up top, navigate to the Data tab.  Look for the group button.  

Navigate to data tab

Highlight the rows you want to group.  In this example from the easy excel budget, we are going to group the categories under expenses.  Hhighlight Groceries to Amazon prime, and hit the group button.  Repeat for the income categories.

Now we can shrink these up really nicely using the “-” button on the far left. 

Layered grouping

You can add multiple levels of grouping too!  In my free excel budget download, the practice sheet has double grouping set up.  Here is what it looks like –

You can see that the entire expenses category is one group, and each expense subcategory is a second grouping.  If we minimize all the subcategories, our expenses look nice and tidy!

Or, we can minimize all of our categories and the whole budget is nicely summed up like this –

There you have it!  Grouping in excel makes your budget look tidier while adding navigation functionality.


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