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How to Unhide Columns in Excel: Everything You Need to Know

Jun 03, 2022

Hidden rows and columns can be much trickier than expected, especially if someone else has entered the document and hidden columns without letting you know.

While we can't do anything about the lack of communication issue in that scenario, we can learn how to unhide columns in Excel.

This article will discuss the various ways you can unhide Excel columns.

How to Unhide Columns in Excel

There are several scenarios where you want to unhide columns in Excel:

  1. Various columns are hidden, and you would like to unhide them all quickly.

  2. You are keen to unhide a particular column, that is, between two unhidden columns.

  3. You are eager to unhide the first column in your spreadsheet.

Unhide Multiple Columns At Once

If your Excel spreadsheet has more than one hidden column, you don't have to unhide columns one at a time. You can unhide columns all at once and do so in multiple ways.

Using the Format Option.

One way to unhide all columns is via the format option:

To unhide all columns in Excel at once, select the small triangle from the top left-hand corner of your spreadsheet. Right-click anywhere on the worksheet and choose Unhide.

This option will unhide it for you regardless of where your columns might be hidden.

Using a Keyboard Shortcut.

If you prefer keyboard shortcuts, you can unhide all your columns with just a few keystrokes.

  1. Choose any cell within the worksheet.

  2. Select CTRL-A-A. This will choose all the cells within your worksheet.

  3. Pres ALT H O U L (one after the other)

If you execute this correctly, all your hidden columns are now visible.

Unhide Columns in Between Selected Columns

There are also several ways that you can unhide columns within selected columns in Excel. The methods listed below are handy when trying to unhide specific columns in Excel.

Using a Keyboard Shortcut.

  • Choose the columns that contain your hidden columns within them.

  • Hold down ALT H, then ALT O, ALT U, and ALT L.

  • If you execute this correctly, your columns will instantly unhide themselves.

Using the Mouse.

One fast way to unhide a chosen column in Excel is with your mouse.

Hover the mouse between the two lettered columns containing a hidden column.

For example, hover your mouse between Columns C and E if Column D is hidden. You will notice a double-line icon.

Next, hold down the left key of your mouse and move it to the right. If you have done this correctly, it will make your hidden column appear.

Using the Format Option in the Ribbon.

From the home tab, several options exist to hide and unhide columns in Excel.

Choose the columns where there are hidden in between.

  • Select the Home tab.

  • From the Cells group, select Format.

  • Hover your cursor on the Hide and Unhide option.

  • Select "Unhide Columns."

By Changing the Column Width.

If none of the other options have worked for you to unhide columns in Excel, it might be that your cue is not hidden, and the honesty column width might have changed to 0.

In this instance, even if you press unhide, the width will not change from 0, and you can't select or see it.

To do this:

  • From the name box, type your cell address in that column. For example, if your column is column D, type D1.

  • While the column isn't visible, the cursor will go in between C1 and E1.

  • Select the Home tab.

  • From the Cells group, select the Format option.

  • Select the Column Width choice, and the dialogue box will appear.

  • Enter your chosen column width value to make it visible.

Unhide the First Column.

One of the trickier things to do in Excel is unhiding the first column of your spreadsheet. However, there are several ways to do this with extra work.

Use the Mouse to Drag the First Column.

It might seem impossible to make your first column visible in Excel, but you can make it visible, and one option is with your mouse.

To do this, move your cursor to the left edge of your left-most visible column. The cursor will change shape into a double arrow pointer. Hold the left mouse button and move the cursor to the right when this occurs. You will notice that your hidden columns become unhidden.

Go to a Cell in the First Column and Unhide it.

Enting any cell within a hidden column might seem impossible, but it is easier than you think.

Using the Name Box, you can quickly enter and unhide a cell in the first column. Enter A1 in your name box, automatically taking you to that cell. As the first column is currently hidden, it won't be visible.

Once your hidden column cell is highlighted, select the Home tab, click Format from the Cells Group, and move your cursor over the Hide and Unhide option. Select the Unhide columns option, and your first column appears.

Check The Number of Hidden Columns

Now that we have looked at how to unhide columns in Excel let's look at how to check the number of hidden columns in Excel.

Hiding columns is pretty straightforward, but you might have forgotten how many columns you have hidden in Microsoft Excel after a while!

And it is almost impossible to select the "unhide column" if you don't know it is there.

Excel has an "Inspect Document" option to search your entire worksheet for confidential data, a hidden row, or a hidden column. This is the best way to determine how many hidden columns there are in your document.

  1. Open your Excel workbook.

  2. Select the File tab

  3. In the Info options, select the "Check for Issues" icon

  4. Select Inspect Document

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Unhide Columns in Excel:

Why won't my columns unhide in Excel?

If you don't see the Unhide Rows or Unhide Columns option, ensure you are right-clicking within the column or row label.

How do I unhide multiple columns?

To unhide all columns in Excel at once, select the small triangle from the top left-hand corner of your spreadsheet. Right-click anywhere on the worksheet and choose Unhide.

What is the shortcut in Excel to unhide hidden columns?

You can use plenty of keyboard shortcuts to hide and unhide columns and rows in Excel.

  1. Ctrl+Shift+( to Unhide Rows.

  2. Ctrl+9 to Hide Rows.

  3. Ctrl+0 (zero) to Hide Columns.

  4. Ctrl+Shift+) to Unhide Columns

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