If you use a word processor, you may be familiar with the concept of an outline. Most word processors (including Microsoft Word) have an outline mode that lets you view only the headings and subheadings in your document. You can easily expand a heading to show the text below it. Using an outline makes visualizing the structure of your document easy.
Excel also is capable of using outlines, and understanding this feature can make working with certain types of worksheets much easier for you.
You can use outlines to create summary reports in which you don’t want to show all the details. You’ll find that some worksheets are more suitable for outlines than others. If your worksheet uses hierarchical data with subtotals, it’s probably a good candidate for an outline.
The best way to understand how worksheet outlining works is to look at an example. Figure 26.1 shows a simple sales summary sheet without an outline. Formulas are used to calculate subtotals by region and by quarter.
Figure 26.1. A simple sales summary with subtotals.
Figure 26.2 shows the same worksheet after the outline was created. Notice that Excel adds a new section to the left of the screen. This section contains outline controls that ...