How to Remove or Add Gridlines in Excel

Add and remove gridlines to make your spreadsheets pop

When a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet is created, have you ever wondered what the tiny vertical and horizontal lines are called? They're called gridlines, and these lines make up tables and cells. They form an integral part of Excel’s basic functions by letting you organize your data into columns and rows. Gridlines also save you from having to create cell borders to make sure your data is easy to read. That's why it's good to know how to add or remove Excel gridlines.

What Are Gridlines and How Do They Work?

Most Excel spreadsheets come with gridlines visible as the default setting. However, you may receive a spreadsheet from a co-worker or friend where the gridlines are not visible. You may also decide your data might look better without the gridlines being seen by other users. Either way, adding or removing gridlines is straightforward and doesn't take much time to do.

Several different methods will allow you to show or hide gridlines in Excel 2019, Microsoft 365, and Excel 2016. These include changing the color of the gridlines themselves, altering the fill color of the worksheet, hiding the gridlines in specific tables and cells, and showing or hiding the gridlines for the entire worksheet.

Change the Color of Excel Gridlines for the Whole Worksheet

Whether you need your gridlines to stand out more or you want to remove them from view, you can change the default gridline color with ease.

The default color of gridlines in worksheets is a light gray, but you can change the color to white to remove your gridlines. If you want to make them visible again, just go back to the menu and select a new color.

  1. In the worksheet for which you want to change the gridline colors, go to File > Options.

    File > Options
  2. Select Advanced.

    Options > Advanced
  3. Under the Display options for this worksheet group, use the Gridline color drop-down menu to select the desired color.

    Show gridlines

    After selecting the desired color, Excel 2016 users must select OK to confirm their choice.

Change the Fill Color to Remove Excel Gridlines

  1. Click Select All (the triangle in the top left corner of the worksheet) or press Ctrl+A.

    Select all
  2. From the Home tab, select Fill color, then choose the white option. All gridlines will be hidden from view.

    Excel fill color options

    In Microsoft Excel, the Fill color menu is represented by a paint bucket icon.

  3. If you want to return the gridlines, select the entire worksheet and select No Fill from the Fill Color menu to remove the fill and make the gridlines visible again.

    No Fill in the color options panel

How to Hide Gridlines for Particular Columns and Rows

There may be times when you only want to have a certain section of gridlines removed to provide visual emphasis for those viewing it.

  1. Choose the group of cells where you want to remove the gridlines.

  2. Right-click the highlighted cells and select Format Cells. You can also press Ctrl+1 to get to the menu.

    The right click menu in Excel
  3. In the Format Cells dialog box, select the Border tab.

    Format Gridlines By Section
  4. Select white from the color drop-down menu, then select Outside and Inside in the Presets group.

    Selecting white border
  5. Select OK to confirm your selections.

How to Turn Gridlines On and Off for the Whole Worksheet

Occasionally, you might get a spreadsheet from a friend or colleague that's had the gridlines removed or made invisible. There are two options to quickly and easily restore gridlines for the entire spreadsheet.

  1. Open the spreadsheet with the removed gridlines.

    If you need to select more than one worksheet, hold Ctrl select the relevant sheets at the bottom of the workbook.

  2. Select the View tab, then select the Gridline box to restore all gridlines.

    Gridlines checkbox
  3. Alternatively, you can select Page Layout, and then, under the Gridlines settings, select View.

    Gridlines > View
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