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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 you might expect to deal with. 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 touch on the various ways that you can unhide columns in Excel.

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 certain column, that is, between two unhidden columns.

  3. You are keen 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 have the ability to unhide columns all at once, and you can 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 select Unhide.

Regardless of where your columns might be hidden, this option will unhide it for you.

Using a Keyboard Shortcut

If you prefer using keyboard shortcuts, you can unhide all your columns with just a couple of 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, you will see all of 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 for when you are 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 in between the two lettered columns that contain a hidden column within them.

For example, if Column D is hidden, hover your mouse between Column C and E. 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, there are several options to hide and unhide columns in Excel.

Choose the columns where there are hidden columns 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 column is not actually hidden, and actually, the column width might have gotten changed to 0.

In this instance, even if you press unhide, the width will not change from 0, and you can't select it 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 curser 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. There are several ways to do this, though, with a little bit of 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. When this occurs, hold the left mouse button and move the cursor to the right. You will notice that your hidden columns become unhidden.

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

It might seem impossible to go into any cell within a hidden column, but it is easier than you might think.

By utilizing the Name Box, you can easily go into a cell in the first column and unhide it. Enter A1 in your name box, and it will automatically take 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 you will see your first column appear.

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 easy, but after a while, you might have forgotten how many columns you have hidden in Microsoft excel!

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

Luckily, Excel has an "Inspect Document" option you can use to search your entire worksheet for hidden data, a hidden row, or a hidden column. This is the best way to find out 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 available, 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 select Unhide.

What is the shortcut in Excel to unhide hidden columns?

There are plenty of keyboard shortcuts you can use 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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