How to Copy Excel Data Without Bringing Hidden Rows Along

Copying and pasting data is a common task in Excel. However, when working with filtered or hidden data, the default copy-paste method brings along the hidden rows and columns as well. This can clutter your new worksheet with irrelevant data.

As an Excel expert with over 10 years of experience, I often get asked – how do you copy only the visible cells in Excel? This article will provide a step-by-step guide on copying visible data using different methods.

Why Hidden Rows Get Copied

To understand how to copy visible cells only, it’s important to know the default copy-paste behavior in Excel:

  • When you copy a range of cells, Excel copies all the cells in that range – including the hidden or filtered out ones.
  • So if you copy data from a filtered range, paste it somewhere else, and then unfilter it, you’ll see the previously hidden rows appear.
  • This happens because Excel maintains an underlying list of all rows when you filter data. The filter only hides certain rows from view.

3 Ways to Copy Visible Cells Only

Here are 3 easy methods to copy only the visible cells in Excel, without bringing along the hidden data:

1. Use the ‘Go To Special’ Feature

Excel has a handy ‘Go To Special’ tool to select and copy visible cells only:

  1. Select the range of cells you want to copy (including hidden rows).
  2. Go to the Home tab and click Find & Select > Go To Special.
  3. In the Go To Special dialog box, select Visible cells only and click OK.
  4. This will select only the visible cells. Press Ctrl+C to copy the selection.
  5. Paste it in another location with Ctrl+V.

The hidden rows will not be copied over.

2. Use the Keyboard Shortcut

An even quicker way is to use the Alt + ; keyboard shortcut:

  1. Select the range containing visible cells.
  2. Press Alt + ; (semicolon) to select visible cells only.
  3. Press Ctrl+C to copy the selection.
  4. Paste it with Ctrl+V in the target location.

This copies only the visible data, excluding hidden rows.

3. Add the Select Visible Cells Button

If you frequently need to copy visible cells, add it to the Quick Access Toolbar for one-click access:

  1. Click the Customize Quick Access Toolbar arrow.
  2. Select More Commands.
  3. Choose Select Visible Cells from the list and click Add>>.
  4. Click OK to add the button to the toolbar.

Now you can select and copy visible cells with one click!

Copy Visible Cells from Filtered Tables

Excel tables have inbuilt filters to quickly filter and analyze data. But copying visible data from filtered tables can be tricky.

The easiest way is to use the Alt + ; shortcut method described above.

However, there is another method specifically for Excel tables:

  1. Apply filters to the table and hide some rows.
  2. Click anywhere inside the filtered table.
  3. Go to the Table Design tab.
  4. Click Copy (or press Ctrl+C).
  5. Select the top-left cell of target area and click Paste (or Ctrl+V).

This will only paste the visible rows in the filtered table, excluding hidden ones.

Why You Should Copy Visible Cells Only

Copying only visible data can be useful in many scenarios, such as:

  • When creating reports or dashboards using filtered data. Copying hidden rows clutters the presentation.
  • To isolate and analyze subsets of data, without including irrelevant hidden information.
  • When sharing sanitized data with others, to hide confidential rows.
  • To archive or backup only the relevant filtered data for future use.

In short, copying visible cells gives you full control over the data you work with. Mastering this technique takes your Excel skills to an advanced level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about copying visible cells in Excel:

Q: Is there a shortcut key to copy visible cells only in Excel?

Yes, you can press Alt + ; (semicolon) to select only visible cells before copying.

Q: How do I copy visible cells from an Excel table with filters applied?

Click inside the filtered table, go to the Table Design tab, and click Copy. Then paste in target location to get only visible rows.

Q: What happens when I copy filtered or hidden data in Excel?

By default, Excel would copy all the rows, including the hidden or filtered out rows. The paste would include this hidden data.

Q: Is it possible to permanently remove hidden rows when copying Excel data?

When you specifically copy visible cells only using the methods described above, the hidden data is not copied over. Once pasted, there is no way to retrieve the previously hidden rows.


Copying Excel data seems like a trivial task. But handling hidden data properly while copying demands some expertise.

This article covers various techniques to copy only the visible cells in Excel, excluding any hidden or filtered rows.

Whether you need to create focused reports, share sanitized data extracts, or simply keep your worksheets clean, learning these methods is a must for every Excel user.

So next time you copy-paste data, don’t forget to check if any hidden rows are piggybacking along!