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Excel 2003 - hidden columns displayed for some users

by franciamone / October 20, 2009 10:35 PM PDT

We are using a shared spreadsheet that has 7 or so tabs, all with some columns hidden. I created the file and when I open, columns are hidden as intended, but when other users open, hidden columns are displayed. Is there a setting that would allow for all users to open and have intended hidden columns hidden?

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Excel 2003 - update to post
by franciamone / October 20, 2009 10:49 PM PDT

We are using a template with hidden columns, that has new info dropped in each month, and then saved as a new monthly file, preserving the blank template. The template columns intended to be hidden are hidden for all, but new monthly sheet displays all columns for some users sporadically.

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by MarkFlax Forum moderator / October 21, 2009 5:27 AM PDT

I mostly use Excel XP 2002 so I assume it is basically the same.

Trouble is I am not on my XP machine at the moment, and this Vista doesn't have any Office products.

So, help to refresh my memory. When hiding columns, can anyone just 'unhide' them, or do they need a password to do that?

If a password is needed, does that mean that the option to 'Unhide' in the Format > Columns menu is greyed out, or does it show?

If my memory serves me right, (and I confess I am a bit shaky), you will have to Protect the worksheet, then unprotect the columns and rows that allow others to work with them. That way, the 'Unhide' option should not be available.

But like I say, I am very unsure of this.


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Excel - hidden columns appearing at random
by franciamone / October 21, 2009 6:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Intriguing.

The workbook and sheets are unprotected, so anyone can hide and unhide, which is aok as it is not sensitive data. I do not think individual users (2-4 of them), are unhiding as they are the primary users of the data, and they do not use the extra columns of data which slow them down - which makes them unhappy. The data is compiled from outside resources, two different sources, and used by others as well, so altering the content of this original data is not feasible. The two data sources are married up and copied into a template that has all data points displayed. The data is then segmented into distinct groups, and copied and pasted into the end template workbook onto individual tabs with certain data points displayed and some hidden. Each sheet is different, but the copy/paste from the original is always the same as all columns are present, just hidden as each sheet dictates. Problem is, the hidden columns seem to appear randomly for the users-sometimes they are hidden, sometimes not. Hard to find info on, although I did find a blurb on making sure there are not macros causing the issue, which I did. Thanks for taking a look!

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I am hoping others will chip in
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / October 21, 2009 7:08 PM PDT

but until then all I can suggest are a couple of 'workarounds'.

1] The suggestion to look for any macros was a good one, but you could create a macro to hide those columns when the workbook was opened. To make the macro "Auto-run" would be similar to;

Sub Auto_Open()
Msgbox "Hello"
End Sub

But obviously the VBA code to hide the columns would replace the - Msgbox "Hello" - line.

The drawback to this is, opening the workbook may display a warning message about allowing macros to run, which the user would have to accept each time. You may not want that.

2] But what about moving these hidden columns to a separate worksheet in the same workbook, then hiding that worksheet?

Then, even if that worksheet did not hide as required, it would still only be visible as a tab, and so would still be unobtrusive.

That's the best I can do at the moment.


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Excel - hidden columns reappearing in shared workbook
by franciamone / October 21, 2009 11:07 PM PDT

I appreciate you taking a look. The macro might be acceptable (it would be better than the unhidden columns slowing down workflow and the resulting user frustration). The hidden columns are different on every sheet and rather than have to remember which ones to move each month, I just have them hidden so the copy/paste by chunks of rows fills out each row without having to manipulate the columns each month. I hid a column in the sheet last night, and it remains hidden for me today, although it is not hidden for other users. Some type of personal setting? And just today, we started getting locked for editing messages even though it is shared. Beginning to think it is cursed.

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Locked for editing, messages
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / October 22, 2009 5:14 AM PDT

There could be a simple reason for that.

If a user opens the shared workbook, then that user owns it, (for the time being). If anyone else attempts to open the same shared workbook, 'at the same time', then Windows may well let them open it to view it, but not to make changes.

If the 2nd user saved the file as a different file, I bet they would then be able to make changes, but of course, that defeats the object of sharing a single file as it propagates multiple versions.

It's a shame that these hidden columns are different on every worksheet. It would be a major project to standardise them all. But I think hiding worksheet tabs might be a better way to go in the long run.

I still can't think why one user cannot see these columns whereas another user can. it is no setting that I know.


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Excel-hidden columns
by franciamone / October 26, 2009 10:36 PM PDT

I appreciate you taking a look. I'll be rereading our posts and pondering the best way to go.

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