Excel QuickTip: Change Excel’s Outline Settings

I’ve never liked Excel’s default setting for its outline button structure.   If you notice from the example below, the default setting puts the outline button below your summary rows.

Visually, I don’t think this is intuitive.  I prefer to see the outline button above the summary rows.  Making this change is very simple.  First look for the Outline menu in the Data tab of the ribbon.  Click its expand button in the lower right corner to see the full menu.

Once you are in the menu, uncheck the box for “Summary rows below detail” and click OK.

Now the outline button will be above your summary rows.  Done.

24 thoughts on “Excel QuickTip: Change Excel’s Outline Settings”

  1. Exactly the issue I was looking for. I was looking for two issues actually:
    1. The issue that you really beautifully resolved here with screenshots. You write just like a Technical Writer, which I also happen to be.
    2. Another trick I’m looking for is to have the Plus sign inside the worksheet on a cell just to the left of the data. The trick is supposed to achieve that without using Pivot Table. Supposedly, the trick to perform the same is to use Macros. Do guide me if you can. Thanks in advance.

  2. Great tip. Do you also happen to know how I can increase the size of the outline. I’ve got an excel file that shows such a outline level [1] and [2] sooo small that it is hard to read, and impossile to click. help is welcome 🙂

  3. Pingback: Outline/Group
  4. I understand how to change the summary row from below to above the data. But is it possible to make this the default setting?

  5. What is the maximum number of nested outlines that I can create.

    My outlines are enclosed one into the other.
    e.g. If you click ‘+’ you can see another ‘+’ enclosed.
    So I am able to create only 8 levels of outline.

    How can I increase number of outlines

  6. I knew this already. What I actually have been searching for (like Rob Davies) is a way to change the default setting, so that I don’t have to go through the trouble of these steps for every new spreadsheet. I’m a bit amazed that MS has put out such an un-intuitive default setting for outline and more importantly, at the lack of an easy way to change that default setting (if at all there is a way to change it!)

  7. Thank You So Much..i was struggling find the solution from past two days..this info really helped me..thanks a lot…:)

  8. Is there a way to customize the outline level below the cell name tab to display what level of the data that clicking either the “1”, “2”…..”8″ reveals?

  9. Thanks for this, it’s exactly what I needed – I seem to be having problems doing this with data that is formatted as a table. Do you know if this is not possible for data like this?

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