Mastering Excel: How to Unhide Columns in Excel

Don't panic when you can't find your Excel columns! Learn how to unhide columns with this easy step-by-step guide quickly. No more frustration.

In this article, we will show you how to unhide columns in Excel, a useful skill for anyone working with spreadsheets.

Excel is a powerful tool, but sometimes hidden columns can be frustrating and hard to find. In this article, we'll show you how to unhide any hidden columns, saving you time and reducing your frustration.

Our guide is easy to follow, and even if you're new to Excel, you can unhide columns in no time. By the end of this article, you'll have the knowledge and skills to unhide hidden columns and make the most of Excel.

So, let's get started and learn how to unhide columns in Excel!

how to unhide columns in excel

How to unhide all columns in Excel

If you have hidden columns in your Excel table, don't worry, you can quickly display them all using the Unhide option. 

  1. Click on a small triangle in the top-left corner of your table to select the entire worksheet. If you have trouble finding it, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+A instead. 
  2. Once everything is highlighted, right-click on the selection and choose the Unhide option from the pop-up menu. This will reveal any hidden columns in your table. 
    Unhide columns

With just a few clicks, you can easily unhide any columns you need in Excel!

Unhide columns

Unhiding selected hidden columns in Excel

If you only want to show some of the hidden columns in your Excel table, you will:

  1. Select the columns to the left and right of the one you want to unhide. For example, select columns A and C to show hidden column B.
    Unhide selected columns in excel
  2. Once you've selected the columns, go to the Home tab and find the Cells group. 
    Unhide selected columns in excel
  3. Click on Format, and then select Hide & Unhide, and finally, Unhide columns. 

This will show the hidden column you selected and the columns you chose to display on either side.

Unhide selected columns in excel


If you prefer, you can also right-click on the selected columns and choose Unhide from the menu that appears.

 Or, use the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + 0 to unhide columns quickly. 

With these simple steps, you can easily show the hidden columns you need and work more efficiently in Excel.

Unhiding a specific hidden column using Excel's Go To option

If you want to unhide a specific column in Excel, there's an easy way to do it using the Go To option. Even if you can't see the first column, you can select cell A1 or B6 (or anything) to reveal it. Here's how:

  1. Press the F5 key on your keyboard, or navigate to the Home tab and click on the Find & Select button. 
  2. Then select Go To from the dropdown menu.
    Go to
  3. You'll see the Go To dialog box. In the Reference field, type A1(or any column references) and click OK. Even though you won't see it, a cell is now selected.
    Any column references
  4. Go to the Home tab again, and look for the Cells group
    Cells group
  5. Click on Format, and then select Hide & Unhide, and finally, Unhide Columns
    hide/unhide columns

This will unhide the first column of your table.

Unhide the first column of your table

Using the Go To option is a quick and easy way to unhide any hidden column, even if you can't see it. With just a few clicks, you can reveal the column you need and work more efficiently in Excel.

Expanding a Hidden Column to Unhide it in Excel

You can follow these simple steps to unhide the first column in Excel by expanding it. 

  1. Click on the header for column D to select it. 
  2. Move your mouse cursor to the left until you see the double-sided arrow.
    Doubles sided arrow
  3.  Click and hold the left mouse button, and drag the mouse pointer to the right to expand the hidden column C. 

The hidden column will now be revealed, and you can see all the data it contains. Expanding hidden columns in this way is an easy and efficient way to work with large tables in Excel.

How to locate and display all hidden columns in Excel using Go To Special

Sometimes it can be difficult to find hidden columns in an Excel worksheet, especially if there are many. Luckily, there is a simple trick that you can use to locate them. 

Display all hidden columns

To do this:

  1. Open your workbook and navigate to the Home tab.
  2. Click the Find & Select icon and select the Go to Special... option from the menu list. 
  3. Select the Visible cells only radio button in the Go To Special dialog box and click OK

This will highlight the entire visible part of the table, and the column borders adjacent to the hidden column borders will become whitish. 

Unhide Excel columns

This makes identifying the hidden columns easier and revealing them as needed. 

Unhide excel columns

You can also use the F5 shortcut and select Special > Visible cells only or press the Alt + ; (semicolon) hotkey for an even quicker way to show all hidden columns.

How to check the number of hidden columns in an Excel workbook using Document Inspector

If you want to know if there are any hidden columns in an entire Excel workbook, you can use the Document Inspector feature. This can help you find hidden properties and personal details in your file. 

To use this feature, 

  1. Go to the File tab and click on the Check for issues icon. 
  2. Select the Inspect Document option to examine your file for hidden properties.
    Check the number of hiddne excel cells
  3. Before using the Document Inspector, you may be prompted to save any changes you've made to your file. 
    Inspect document
  4. Once you've done that, the Document Inspector window will open with all the available properties. 
  5. Make sure to check the box next to Hidden Rows and Columns.
    Hidden rows and columns
  6. Click the Inspect button and the tool will start searching for hidden rows and columns in your workbook. After the search is complete, you'll see the inspection results.
    Hidden rows and columns

If you don't trust the hidden data, you can delete it by clicking the Remove All button.

Using the Document Inspector can be helpful if you need to know if there are any hidden columns in your Excel workbook before navigating to them.

How to prevent the un-hiding of columns in Excel

If you have hidden columns in an Excel table that you want to keep confidential or protected, you can prevent others from unhiding them. 

You need to lock the columns and protect the sheet to do this.

  1. Select the entire table by clicking the small Select All icon where row numbers and column letters intersect. 
    Select the rntire table
  2. Right-click on the highlighted area and select Format Cells.
    Format cells
  3. Go to the Protection tab in the Format Cells window and uncheck the Locked checkbox. 
  4. Click OK to save the changes.
  5. Select the column or columns you want to protect from being unhidden.
  6. Right-click on the highlighted columns and select Format Cells again.
  7. On the Format Cells window, navigate to the Protection tab and check the Locked checkbox. 
    Lokced checkbox
  8. Click OK to save the changes.
  9. Now, hide the columns by selecting them and right-clicking, then choosing the Hide option.
  10. Go to the Review tab and click on the Protect Sheet icon
  11. Make sure to check the boxes for Select locked cells and Select unlocked cells, then enter and re-enter a password.
    Lokced cells

After you have protected the sheet, anyone who tries to unhide the columns in your Excel table will be unable to do so. This process will help ensure the confidentiality of your data.

Final Thoughts

Unhiding columns in Excel can be very useful when you have accidentally hidden them or when you want to access certain columns that have been hidden. Fortunately, it is a relatively simple process to unhide hidden columns in Excel.

By using these simple methods, you can easily unhide hidden columns in Excel and gain access to the data you need.

One more thing

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