How to Group Rows & Columns in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step)

Google Sheets has been adding new features on an ongoing basis, and in 2018, it added the functionality to allow users to group rows and columns in Google Sheets (just the way it was available in Microsoft Excel).

Grouping data allows you to group rows/columns (that you can expand and collapse with a single click or a keyboard shortcut). This helps as you can make the data concise by hiding the grouped data and in case more detail is needed, you can quickly ungroup and show the grouped data.

Below is an example where I have the data for four quarters and I have grouped each quarter data. To view the data, I can easily click on the plus icon on the left and it shows me the data for that quarter.

Example where you can click and ungroup rows in Google Sheets

Now, let’s see how you can group rows and columns in Google Sheets.

Group Rows In Google Sheets

Below is a dataset where I want to group rows in a way that I only have the quarter-wise data available and the rows that make this data are grouped.

Dataset to group rows

Below are the steps to group rows in Google Sheets:

  1. Select the rows that you want to group. Make sure you select the entire row by selecting the row number at the left-most of the document (and not the cells in the worksheet).Select the rows that you want to group
  2. Hover the cursor over the selected rows and right-click
  3. Click on the option, Group rows 2-4 (in your case it will show the number of the rows you have selected).Click on Group Rows Option

That’s it!

The above steps would instantly group the rows and you will see a gray vertical block appear on the left-most part with a minus sign icon.

Minus button appears when you group rows

When you click on this minus sign icon, it will hide all the grouped rows and the icon would change to a plus sign one (indicating that it contains some grouped rows).

To group other rows, you need to follow the same steps. Just select the rows that you want to group and follow the steps above.

Note that you can only group contiguous rows. If you select non-contiguous rows and right-click, it will not show you the option to group.

Keyboard Shortcut to Group Rows in Google Sheets

There is another (faster) way to group rows in Google Sheets – using a keyboard shortcut.

Suppose you have the dataset below where you want to group row 2-4;

Below are the steps to using a keyboard shortcut to do this:

  1. Select the cells that you want to group (A2:A4 in this example)
  2. With the cells selected, hold the ALT and SHIFT keys and press the right arrow key.
  3. Select the Option Group rows 2-4.Click on Group Rows Option that appear after using the keyboard shortcut
  4. Hit Enter.

Personally, I find using this keyboard shortcut method a lot faster to group rows and columns in Google Sheets.

Group Columns In Google Sheets

Just like rows, you can also group columns in Google Sheets.

Suppose you have a dataset as shown below and you want to group column B and C, so that you can hide and only show the total sales column.

Dataset where columns needs to be grouped

Below are the steps to group columns in Google Sheets:

  1. Select the columns that you want to group. Make sure you select the entire row by selecting the column alphabet at the top-most of the document (and not the cells in the worksheet).
  2. Hover the cursor over the selected columns and right-click
  3. Click on the option, Group column B-C.

Click on Group B-C option

The above steps would instantly group these two columns and show a minus icon at the top of the rows. When you click on this minus icon, it will hide the columns and change into a plus icon. When you want to see these columns, you can click on the plus icon and these columns would become visible.

Creating Multiple Layers of Grouping

In the above examples, we have only grouped based on one layer.

For example, when we grouped the rows, we did it for all the quarters.

So when you hide all the grouped rows, you will see the dataset as shown below (which shows only the quarters and the year values).

But what if now you want to add another layer of grouping where even the quarters are grouped and hidden and only the year value is visible.

You can do that by adding another layer of grouping over the existing one.

Below are the steps to do this:

  1. Ungroup all the data so every row is visible
  2. Select all the rows you want to group. In this case, I will not select the header and the last row (the one that gives the full-year data).
  3. Right-click on any of the selected cells
  4. Click on Group rows 2-17

As soon as you do this, you will notice that you now have two layers of grouping (you can see this visually in the gray stripe in the left-most part).

Multiple layers when rows or columns are grouped

The first (bigger) layer will hide all the rows and show only the year, and the second layer has multiple grouping that you can use to hide all month level data and show only quarterly data.

Expanding/Collapsing all Grouped Rows/Columns

When you create a lot of grouped rows or columns, it is going to take you a lot of time to expand all or collapse all.

While doing it one by one for each group is an option, it’s not the efficient one.

  • To expand all groups (i.e., to make all the rows visible), right-click on any of the plus/minus icons and click on Expand all row groups
  • To collapse all groups (i.e., to hide all the rows and only show the outlines), right-click on any of the plus/minus icons and click on Collapse all row groups

Expand or collapse all rows options

Removing Grouping in Google Sheets

Removing these groups is super simple.

Just right-click on the +/- icon and then click on Remove Group.

Remove Group option when you right-click

In case you have a huge dataset a lot of groups, just select all the rows that are grouped (by selecting the left-most column numbers) and then click on Ungroup rows option.

You can also change the position of the +/- icon that appears after the grouping. Just right-click on any of the +/- icon and you get the option Move +/- button to the bottom (or option Move +/- button to the top in case it’s at the bottom already)

I hope you found this tutorial about how to group rows in Google Sheets useful.

You may also like the following Google Sheets tutorials:

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