Hiding and Unhiding Columns in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn the step-by-step process of hiding and unhiding columns in Excel, including the somewhat tricky column A.

Hiding a column is a useful way to keep data out of sight without affecting its purpose. There are various reasons why you might want to hide a column, such as concealing confidential information or removing unnecessary columns from a busy spreadsheet. Fortunately, the process of hiding and unhiding columns is straightforward, except for unhiding column A. This article will guide you through hiding and unhiding columns and provide insight into the slightly less intuitive steps for unhiding column A.

Please note that the techniques described in this article apply to Microsoft 365, Windows 11 64-bit, as well as older versions and Excel for the web. While the article focuses on hiding and unhiding column A, the same principles can be applied to hiding and unhiding row 1.

Jump to:

1. Selecting a column
Hiding and unhiding a column requires just a few clicks. To begin, select the entire column(s) by following these steps:

– Hover the cursor over the header cell of the desired column until it turns into a black pointer (Figure A).
– Click on the header cell to select the entire column (Figure B).

If you need to select multiple columns, simply select the first column and then drag the selection left or right to include adjacent columns. To create a noncontiguous selection, select the first column, hold down the Ctrl key, and click on the header cells of the additional columns you want to select.

Now that you know how to select whole columns, let’s move on to hiding a column.

2. Hiding columns in Excel
Once you have selected the desired column(s), you can easily hide them using the following steps:

– Right-click on the selected column(s).
– Choose the “Hide” option from the context menu (Figure C).

After hiding the column, it will no longer be visible in the spreadsheet (Figure D). Alternatively, you can click on the “Formatting” option in the “Cells” group on the Home tab, select “Hide & Unhide,” and then choose “Hide Columns” from the resulting menu.

3. Unhiding columns in Excel
Unhiding a column is not as intuitive as hiding one, but it is still a straightforward process. To unhide a column, you need to select the adjacent columns and repeat the steps used to hide the column, but select the “Unhide” option instead. This means selecting the hidden column(s) and each column on either side of them.

Here’s how to unhide column C as an example:

– Select columns B and D by clicking on the header cell for column B and dragging the selection to column D (Figure E).
– Right-click on the selection.
– Choose the “Unhide” option from the context menu.

For more tips and tricks on Excel, check out our guide for beginners and experts.

4. Unhiding column A in Excel
While the methods described above work well for hiding and unhiding columns, they become less effective when trying to unhide column A. Since column A only has one adjacent column, column B, simply selecting column B will not unhide column A. However, this does not mean that column A is permanently gone; it just requires a different selection technique.

First, let’s hide column A so that we can then proceed to unhide it:

– Click on the header cell of column A.
– Right-click on the selected column.
– Choose the “Hide” option from the context menu.

To unhide column A, follow these steps:

– Hover the mouse over the header cell of column B and drag it to the left. As the mouse pointer nears the Select All cell, the pointer will change from a selection arrow to a cross (Figure F).
– Right-click and choose the “Unhide” option.

By following these steps, you can easily hide and unhide columns in Excel, including the slightly more challenging column A.

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