How to Remove Blacked-Out Cells in MS Excel

Written by matthew burley
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Microsoft Excel is the spreadsheet application that is included with most versions of the Microsoft Office suite of programs. It is primarily used to store and compare data, but presents a useful table structure that is helpful for many types of data organisation. For this reason, it can be used in a variety of environments, such as those where sensitive data might be stored in a spreadsheet. Sometimes it is necessary to black out this type of data so that others can't see it. It is possible to remove this blacked out data entirely.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Navigate to the location of your Excel spreadsheet, then double-click on the file icon to open it.

  2. 2

    Click on a blacked-out cell to select it. To select multiple contiguous cells, click on one cell, then hold down the mouse button and drag the cursor until all desired cells are selected.

  3. 3

    Right-click on your selected cell(s) to bring up the secondary menu. If your mouse or touch pad does not have a right-click button, press "Ctrl+Shift+F10."

  4. 4

    Select the "Delete" option to bring up the "Delete" dialogue window.

  5. 5

    Specify whether you would prefer Excel to "Shift cells left" or "Shift cells up," then click the "OK" button.

Tips and warnings

  • If you want to remove a row or column from view, but still retain the data, use the "Hide" function. To perform this operation, click the row or column heading to select it, then right-click on the heading and choose the "Hide" option. You can also select the "Edit" menu at the top of the screen, then click the "Delete" option from there (Excel 2003 or earlier), or click the "Delete" option on the "Home" tab in Excel 2007 or 2010.

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