Google Sheets is a fantastic spreadsheet software for collaboration over the cloud. As an online-first platform, your data is always synced and live without the need to spam Ctrl or Cmd+S all the time. That being said, there will always be information hidden away in your Sheets that you want to clean up to be more professional and to avoid any unwanted privacy violations.
Kinds of Leftover Data in Google Sheets
There are a couple of ways you could be leaving leftover data in your spreadsheets. Sometimes, the crumbs you could be leaving are unintuitive and less apparent. It helps to have this checklist to avoid untoward incidents.
- File version history.
- Cell edit history.
- Hidden rows, columns, and cells.
How to Remove File Version History in Google Sheets
The version history is one of the most important features of Google Sheets that could really help you undo huge mistakes and even fork off from an earlier version of your work to a completely new direction to save you a lot of time.
The revision history can contain a treasure trove of data that you may or may not want to hand over to others. It’s good practice to just purge your spreadsheet from past versions when sharing them to another editor.
We have a full guide on how to remove your file version history on Google Sheets but here’s a quick summary:
Step 1. To remove the file version history of a Google Sheets file, you have to make a copy by going to File > Make a Copy.
Step 2. Share the new copy instead of sharing access to the original one. New copies don’t retain the edit history of a file.
How to Remove Cell Edit History
Cells have a shortcut to your version history. This history is accessible by right-clicking a cell and clicking on Show edit history.
While there is no specific way of deleting individual edits to cells, you can proceed with the same solutions under How to Remove File Version History in Google Sheets to purge your cells of the hidden edit history data.
Again, the best way of removing version history is by creating a new copy of your file prior to sharing.
How to Remove Hidden Rows and Columns in Google Sheets
It can be easy to overlook how you may have hidden rows and columns in your Google Sheets. You don’t want to be surprised when a rogue hidden column is revealed to a party who doesn’t have to see it.
To find and delete hidden cells in Google Sheets follow the steps outlined below:
Step 1. Show hidden rows and columns. To find hidden rows and columns, go to your spreadsheet and do any of the following methods:
- Find arrow indicators. The indicator of having hidden rows or columns is the left and right arrow as depicted in the screenshot below. To reveal the contents, simply click on any of these arrows and the row or column will be unhidden instantly.
- Right click on the top left space on your sheet. This reveals the right-click menu that allows you to ‘Unhide rows’. This is the preferred method for when you want to reveal all that you have hidden in larger spreadsheets where hunting for arrows could be more daunting.
Step 2. Delete Columns or Rows Manually. Once you’ve revealed the hidden column and/or rows, right click on them and press Delete row or Delete column.
Conclusion on How to Remove Hidden Data in Google Sheets
Having to deal with rogue data is a headache you’d want to prevent before it becomes a problem. To recap:
- You can delete file version history or cell history by making a copy of your file before sharing. Simply go to File > Make a copy and the edit history is purged from the new copy you just made. Use this copy when sharing instead of sharing an original.
- You can delete hidden rows and columns by first revealing them. You can unhide rows and columns by clicking on the left and right arrows on the top row or the leftmost column. Alternatively, you can go to the top left section of a spreadsheet and find ‘Unhide row’ or ‘Unhide column’ using the right click menu. After that, you will have to manually delete the just-revealed column or row.
Now that you know how to deal with removing different kinds of hidden data, you’re more equipped to deal with them and nip the problem at the bud.
Be More Productive on Google Sheets With FileDrop
Get even more productive and efficient on Google Sheets! Download FileDrop, a powerful Google Sheets and Docs add-on designed to integrate your data more tightly with your files on Google Drive. You can use it to insert PDFs, images, and other files to cells using drag and drop to give your spreadsheets more utility and customization.
Here are the core features of FileDrop:
✅Insert PDF, images, and other files into cells
✅Insert files from Drive, your local storage, or web links
✅Use powerful optical character recognition (OCR) tools to convert PDFs and Images to text
✅Extract table data from PDFs
✅Translate OCR text to over 50 languages
To get started being more productive on Google Sheets with these features, install FileDrop for free using this link.