How to Unhide Columns in Excel A Step-by-Step Guide

how to unhide columns in excel

Microsoft Excel is a powerful spreadsheet software used by millions of people around the world for data analysis, financial modeling, and various other tasks. Excel’s flexibility allows users to hide columns or rows to simplify their view and focus on specific data. However, there may come a time when you need to reveal hidden columns to access or manipulate certain information. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to unhide columns in Excel, whether you’re using the latest version or an older one.

Open Your Excel Workbook

Begin by opening the Excel workbook containing the hidden columns you want to unhide. If you’re working on a new spreadsheet, you can insert some sample data and hide a column to practice the unhiding process.

Identify the Hidden Columns

Before you can unhide columns, you need to identify which columns are hidden. Typically, hidden columns are represented by a thin vertical line or header letters/numbers that skip a sequence (e.g., A, B, D, E). You may also notice a small, double-headed arrow between two column headers, indicating hidden columns within that range.

Select the Columns to Unhide

There are several ways to select the hidden columns you want to unhide

Using the Mouse

   Click on the column header to the left of the hidden columns you want to unhide. Hold down the left mouse button and drag to the right to select multiple columns.

   Alternatively, click on the first hidden column header, hold down the “Shift” key, and click on the last hidden column header to select a range of hidden columns.

   Using the Keyboard

  If you know the column letters, you can use the keyboard. For example, to select columns C to E, press “Ctrl” and the “Spacebar” to select column C, then press “Shift” and the right arrow key twice to extend the selection to columns D and E.

   Select All Columns

    If you want to unhide all hidden columns in the worksheet, simply press “Ctrl” + “A” to select the entire worksheet.

Unhide Columns

Once you’ve selected the hidden columns, you can proceed to unhide them. Here are two common methods

Right-Click and Unhide

      Right-click on any of the selected column headers.

      In the context menu that appears, click on “Unhide.”

Using the Ribbon (Excel 2013 and later)

  Go to the “Home” tab on the Excel ribbon.

  In the “Cells” group, click on the “Format” dropdown.

  Select “Hide & Unhide,” then choose “Unhide Columns.”

  Using the Ribbon (Excel 2010 and earlier)

   Go to the “Home” tab on the Excel ribbon.

   In the “Cells” group, click on “Format.”

   Select “Unhide Columns” from the dropdown menu.

Verify the Unhiding

After performing the above steps, the hidden columns should now be visible again. You’ll see them restored to their original position in the worksheet. Check to ensure that you have successfully unhidden the desired columns.

Save Your Workbook

Don’t forget to save your Excel workbook after making any changes. You can press “Ctrl” + “S” or click the “Save” button on the Quick Access Toolbar to save your document. This ensures that your unhiding changes are preserved for future use.

Tips and Additional Information

  • Hiding Columns To hide columns, you can use the same process but select the columns you want to hide, right-click, and choose “Hide” instead of “Unhide.”
  • Multiple Selections You can unhide non-contiguous columns by holding down the “Ctrl” key while clicking on the column headers.
  • Protecting Worksheets In some cases, you may find that you can’t unhide columns due to worksheet protection. You’ll need to unprotect the sheet first by going to the “Review” tab and clicking “Unprotect Sheet.”


Why can’t I unhide all columns in Excel?

There are certain situations when you can’t “unhide” columns on the left and/or rows at the top and it is not a sheet protection issue. It is also not an unhiding issue. It is caused by Freeze Panes. It depends where you are when you set your Freeze Panes.

How do I unhide hidden columns?

On the Home tab, in the Cells group, click Format. Do one of the following: Under Visibility, click Hide & Unhide, and then click Unhide Rows or Unhide Columns.

In conclusion, unhiding columns in Excel is a straightforward process once you know where to look. Excel’s flexibility in managing data allows you to hide and unhide columns to suit your needs, making it a valuable tool for data organization and analysis. Whether you’re working with large datasets or simple calculations, mastering these Excel features can save you time and enhance your productivity.

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