Protecting Your Privacy in Google Sheets: How to Hide Columns from Users

Google Sheets is a powerful tool for organizing and analyzing data, but sometimes you need to keep certain information private. Whether it’s sensitive financial figures or personal contact details, you might not want every user with access to a spreadsheet to see everything. Thankfully, Google Sheets offers a straightforward way to hide columns from certain users, ensuring your privacy is protected.

Step by Step Tutorial on Protecting Your Privacy in Google Sheets by Hiding Columns from Certain Users

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand what we’re aiming to achieve. By following these steps, you will be able to select specific columns in Google Sheets and hide them from view for certain users, while still allowing them to work with other parts of the spreadsheet.

Step 1: Open the Google Sheet

Open the Google Sheet you want to edit. Make sure you are logged in with an account that has editing permissions.

Opening the Google Sheet is the first and crucial step. Ensure you have the appropriate permissions to make changes to the sheet’s sharing settings.

Step 2: Select the Column

Click on the letter at the top of the column you want to hide to select it.

When you select the column, it will be highlighted, indicating that it is ready for you to apply changes to it.

Step 3: Right Click and Choose "Hide Column"

After selecting the column, right-click on it to bring up a menu, and then choose the "Hide column" option.

Hiding the column won’t delete any data. It simply makes the column invisible to anyone viewing the sheet. You can always reverse this action if necessary.

Step 4: Set up Protected Ranges

Go to the Data menu and select "Protected sheets and ranges". This option allows you to set who can view the hidden column.

Protected ranges are essential for controlling who can see the data in hidden columns. You can specify individual users or groups that have permission to view or edit these ranges.

Step 5: Add Permissions

In the protected sheets and ranges pane, you can add permissions for who can edit the range. Click "Set permissions" and choose the users who will have access.

Remember, only the users you specify here will be able to see the hidden columns. Choose carefully to maintain the privacy of the data.

Once you’ve completed these steps, the selected columns will be hidden from view for users without specific permissions. This means that you can share your Google Sheets with others without worrying about exposing sensitive information.

Tips for Protecting Your Privacy in Google Sheets by Hiding Columns from Certain Users

  • Always double-check user permissions to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to hidden columns.
  • Consider using different Google Sheets for levels of data sensitivity, instead of hiding multiple columns in one sheet.
  • Regularly review your Google Sheets to update permissions and ensure that privacy settings are still relevant.
  • Remember that hiding a column does not delete the data, so be careful not to unhide columns accidentally.
  • Use the "Protected sheets and ranges" feature to further secure your data by setting permissions for not just columns, but also individual cells or whole sheets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can viewers still sort or filter the sheet if columns are hidden?

No, viewers cannot sort or filter columns that have been hidden from them. Only users with permission to see the hidden columns can perform these actions.

What if I need to hide multiple columns?

You can hide multiple columns by selecting them all before right-clicking and choosing "Hide column". You can also set the same permissions for multiple columns in the protected ranges pane.

Can I hide columns from everyone except myself?

Yes, you can hide columns and set the permissions so that only your account has access to view and edit them.

Is it possible to hide columns on the mobile app?

Hiding columns in the Google Sheets mobile app is not currently supported. You’ll need to use a web browser on a computer to hide columns.

Will hiding columns affect the calculations or data in those columns?

No, hiding columns does not affect the calculations or data in those columns. All formulas that reference the hidden columns will still work as usual.

Summary of Steps

  1. Open the Google Sheet.
  2. Select the Column.
  3. Right Click and Choose "Hide Column".
  4. Set up Protected Ranges.
  5. Add Permissions.


In the world of data sharing and collaboration, privacy is paramount. No one wants their sensitive information to be visible to just anyone who has access to a spreadsheet. That’s where the power of Google Sheets comes in handy. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily hide columns from certain users and protect your privacy without compromising the functionality of your data. It’s a simple yet effective solution that ensures only the eyes you want on your data can see it, giving you peace of mind in an increasingly connected world. Remember to revisit your privacy settings regularly and continue to explore the many features Google Sheets offers to keep your information secure. Protecting your privacy in Google Sheets by hiding columns from certain users is not just a smart move, it’s essential in maintaining control over your digital assets.