Number Formatting feature in Excel mainly allows you to change the appearance of cells without overwriting their contents. Currency formatting or highlighting colors are common examples. But that's not all! You can also use this feature to hide the value of a cell without changing it. In this article we're going to show you how to hide formulas in Excel using formatting.

How to hide data using formatting

How to hide formulas in Excel

Excel's versatile Number Formatting allows creating custom rules by using a simple code structure. A number formatting code has 4 parts which are separated by semi colons.

  • Positive
  • Negative
  • Zero
  • Text

Below is an example.


The code in each part determine how the cell will be displayed. Leaving any of these parameters empty will hide the matching values. Subsequently, leaving all parts empty will hide any value in a cell. You can use the syntax below to do this.



  1. Select the cells you want to hide.
  2. Press Ctrl+1 or right click and choose Format Cells… option to open the Format Cells menu.
  3. Go to the Number tab.
  4. Select Custom from the Category list.
  5. Type in the empty string ;;;
  6. Click OK to apply formatting.

For more information about Number Formatting please see Number Formatting in Excel – All You Need to Know