Group Columns in Google Sheets

What Is Group Columns in Google Sheets?

Grouping columns in Google sheets allows users to visually group data together. It helps in efficiently organizing your data. You can present information in a concise manner by expanding or hiding sets of columns as required using grouping columns in Google Sheets. Grouping of columns of type “Number”, “Date”, “Text” etc. can be done efficiently.

Let us look at the example below. Here, we have grouped columns A and B. For this, you can right-click on the column header of the desired range (A and B) and select “Group columns” from the menu. The two columns will be grouped as shown below with a “+” sign.

Key Takeaways
  • We group columns in Google Sheets, which is a convenient way to similar group data, thereby making it easy to summarize and analyze them.
  • To group columns, we must select two or more columns and then right-click, choose “View more column actions” -> “Group columns.”
  • Google Sheets group columns allow for cleaner worksheets as we can collapse sections of information that we are not using. It further enhances the readability.
  • To hide the data within a group, click the minus (-) sign, while to show the data, click the plus (+) sign for the group.

How to Use Columns Grouping in Google Sheets?

Grouping columns in Google sheets is a simple task. You have to select the column header and right-click group columns in Google Sheets; users right-click on the column header of the desired range and select “Group columns” from the menu.

Step 1: In the case of multiple columns, select the columns that you want to group by clicking on the first header and dragging across to the last.


Step 2: Right-click on one of the selected column headers and choose “View more Column Actions.” From here, choose “Group Columns B-C.”


Step 3: The grouping can be seen above the column A with a ‘-‘ (minus) button to collapse the group.


How to Group Multiple Columns

You can select multiple columns the usual way by dragging the mouse over them or clicking on the corresponding column headers. Right-click and choose “Group columns C-E”.


Besides this, you can also use keyboard group columns in Google Sheets shortcut. For grouping, press the following keys.

Alt + Shift + Arrow Right (Windows)

You can see how columns D and E are grouped.


To ungroup these columns, press Alt + Shift + Arrow Left (Windows).



Now that we have seen the basics of grouping columns let us go ahead and try out some interesting examples.

Example #1

Look at the table below. We have the sales details of some items given month wise and the total sales details at the end of two quarters. We can now group the sales under Q1 and Q2 into groups.

To group columns in Google sheets, follow these steps.

Step 1: First, select the columns you want to group. You can also select the header of each column.


Step 2: You can also use the Shift + Alt + Right Arrow shortcut. Now, right-click on and you get a menu.


Step 3: Chooser the option “View more column actions” -> “Group columns B-D.”

This creates a column group as shown.


You observe that clicking the minus (-) sign at the top of the group hides all the columns within the group.


Step 4: Let us create another column group for Q2. Select columns F, G, and H. Right-click and follow the steps as mentioned above.


Thus, we have two column groups based on the quarters.


You can click on the minus sign and observe the total sales details for the two quarters. Thus, when you group columns in Google Sheets, you can view the required data, helping you analyze data in a better way.


Example #2

Let us look at how to create nested groups with the same table in the above example to group columns in Google sheets. As seen in the previous example, we created two column groups for the two columns. Let us sum up the total sales for the six months and add another column at the end.


We can add an outer group by following the below steps.

Step 1: Select columns B to I in the above table.


Step 2: Follow the steps listed in Example 1.

Right-click-“View more column actions” – “Group columns B-I.”


Step 3: Now, you have two groups.

  • An outer group from columns B to I.
  • An inner group with columns from B to D and F to H.

When you click on the minus (-) button, the inner group contracts only that particular group. However, when you click on the outer group’s minus sign, it collapses all the groups of this level.


The different ways you can expand and close those groups are shown below.


How to Group and Ungroup Rows and Columns in Google Sheets?

Now that we have seen how to group different columns let us look at how to ungroup them. As seen in the examples above, grouping involves selecting all the required columns and then right-clicking. 

In the menu that appears, you choose “View more column actions” -> “Group columns B-I.”

Step 1: Now, to ungroup a particular set of columns, use the following steps. Click on the + or – sign for the group you want to remove. Let us assume it’s the group marked in red in this example.


Step 2: Right click here. You see different options.


Step 3: Choose the option “Remove group.” This particular group will be removed.


Likewise, you can remove the different groups choosing the various options available.

How to Hide or Unhide the Grouped Column?

To hide and unhide the selected column in Google sheets, you must click on the + and minus sign.



To hide the above column group, click on the minus and it will become a ‘+’ sign.  You can observe that the columns listed under this group are hidden now.


Now that we have created various groups let us see how to hide and unhide the grouped columns.

Shortcut Keys to Hide or Unhide Column Grouping in Google Sheets?

Let us create a group in the table below using the shortcut keys. Select the group columns in Google sheets.


Step 1: Now press Alt + Shift + Arrow Right for to create a group. You get the menu as shown below.


Step 2: Choose columns A and B.


Step 3: Now, you get the group for these columns.


Step 4: To unhide, click on Alt + Shift + Left Arrow.


Why you should use the Google Sheets Column Grouping?

  1. If there is an excess of data in your worksheet, it could leave you feeling overwhelmed. Therefore, you can organize the columns into groups to hide and show different parts of your Google Sheets so that only the information you need is visible.
  2. Another advantage of grouping is that you can have multiple levels of hierarchies, which is not possible when you hide columns.
  3. It keeps the data in an organized and easy-to-understand manner.

Why you should not use Google Sheets Column Grouping?

  1. Only adjacent columns can be grouped. So, if your columns are away from each other, grouping is not a possible option.
  2. Group Columns in Google sheets is an edit, and hence, when the sheet is protected, you will be unable to group/ungroup columns.
  3. We should always ensure that the right columns are grouped and not unnecessary ones by mistake when grouping.

Important Things to Note

  1. Grouping can be done at the click of a button, making it advantageous over hiding columns.
  2. When creating nested groups, you can hide and unhide the topmost group without affecting the lower groups.
  3. The + or – sign makes it easy to understand which columns have a group.
  4. When you protect a page but want a user to hide/unhide the group, it is not possible as the page is protected. 
  5. Shift + Alt + Right Arrow is the shortcut used to group columns easily.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the shortcut to ungroup or group columns in Google Sheets?

Grouping and ungrouping columns in Google Sheets is as easy as it gets with the shortcut keys listed below.
Use Alt + Shift + – to group rows or columns and Alt + Shift + – to ungroup them.

2. How to remove group in Google Sheets?

To remove a particular group in Google sheets, click on the + or – sign of the group, right-click and choose the option “Remove Group.”

3. Can you group rows like you can group columns in Google Sheets?

Not just columns, one can also group rows, both singly and in layers, creating a hierarchical view of the data. The way to group rows is similar to grouping columns, thereby enhancing the capability to organize the data in different dimensions.

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This article must be helpful to understand the Group Columns in Google Sheets, with its formula and examples. You can download the template here to use it instantly.

Guide to What is the Group Columns in Google Sheets. We explain how to use Group Columns in Google Sheets with examples. You can learn more from the following articles.

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