Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Hiding and Unhiding Columns.

Hiding and Unhiding Columns

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 26, 2016)


Excel allows you to easily hide columns in your worksheet. Once a column is hidden, it will not be shown on the display or printed when you print the worksheet. The column is not deleted; its width is simply reduced to 0. To hide a column, follow these steps:

  1. Select any cell in the column (or columns) you want to hide.
  2. Make sure the Home tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  3. Click the Format tool in the Cells group. Excel displays a series of options.
  4. Click Hide & Unhide and then click Hide Columns.

You can also hide columns by selecting those you want to hide, right-clicking on the selected columns, and choosing Hide from the resulting Context menu.

The columns disappear from the display. Notice, however, that the other columns do not change; they still retain the same column labels. Excel does, however, leave a thick bar in the column header area to indicate where the hidden columns would normally appear.

To later unhide the columns, follow these steps:

  1. Select the columns on both sides of those that are hidden.
  2. Make sure the Home tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  3. Click the Format tool in the Cells group. Excel displays a series of options.
  4. Click Hide & Unhide and then click Unhide Columns.

You can also unhide columns by selecting the columns on both sides of those you want to unhide, right-clicking on the selected columns, and choosing Unhide from the resulting Context menu.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6864) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Hiding and Unhiding Columns.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is five less than 5?

2017-03-13 18:08:33

Tim J

Why bother with the ribbon, except for unhiding columns?
Surely :
CTRL+9 hide selected row
CTRL+SHIFT+( unhide column in selection

CTRL+0 (zero) hide selected column

However, I have never gotten this to work. Is there a bug?
CTRL+SHIFT+) unhide column in selection

(I also use outlines on sheets I want to hide/unhide rows and columns frequently)

2016-11-29 11:04:11

Gary Lundblad

I like your hiding macro Graham; however; how hard would it be to have the trigger be a value rather than a comment? If the trigger is a value it can be dynamic. How would you change the code if it were say the value "True," in the first column, or even "Hide," if that's easier, rather than a cell comment.

Thank you Graham!


2016-11-27 02:47:04


I find it easy to "GROUP" columns or rows (Data-ribbon, outline - Group) that I frequently should hide or unhide. You then get the + and -buttons on the side bar or top bar to expand or collapse grouped columns and rows. You also can "ungroup" rows and columns you do not want to keep into it. Adjoining columns and rows will be "grouped" together. If you want to collapse or expand them separately then it is best to insert a very narrow column or row in between.

Good luck.

2016-11-26 06:27:12


If you regularly want to hide and unhide a pre-defined set of columns then the macro below could be used. For example I use this to hide some columns during printing.

All that you need to do is add a Comment in Row 1 for any column that you wish to hide. The comment should start with the characters HID, upper or lower case.

NOTE - When creating a new cell comment some versions of Excel start the comment with the user's name. This needs to be removed.

By use of the Static definition the macro toggles between hidden and unhidden.


Option Explicit

Static Sub Hiding()

' Hiding Macro
' Toggles a pre-defined selection of columns as hidden or unhidden
' Columns defined by cells in FIRST row having a COMMENT starting with the
' letters "HID", that is any word such as "Hide", "Hidden", "Hiding", etc.
' Checks if Worksheet is initially Protected, asks for password if needed
' but reprotects WITHOUT password.

Dim active_column, actcell, hidden, protected

Application.ScreenUpdating = False ' Runs faster & stops screen flicker
Application.Calculation = xlManual
ActiveWorkbook.PrecisionAsDisplayed = False

If ActiveSheet.ProtectContents Then
protected = "Yes"
ActiveSheet.Unprotect ' Needed to allow hiding/unhiding to occur
End If

Set actcell = ActiveCell ' Stores location of "active" cell

hidden = hidden + 1
' initial value of hidden is zero if "first use" or
' "last used" value, due to "Static" statement in Sub title

If hidden > 2 Then hidden = 1

If hidden = 1 Then ' Change to "all" columns visible
Selection.EntireColumn.hidden = False
Else ' Change to "selected" columns visible
active_column = ActiveCell.Column 'Starts search in last column currently in use.
Do While active_column > 0
If UCase(Left(Cells(1, active_column).NoteText, 3)) = "HID" Then
' Any cell in top row with COMMENT starting with
' Hide, Hidden, Hiding, etc. Upper or lower case.
Cells(1, active_column).Select
Selection.EntireColumn.hidden = True
End If
active_column = active_column - 1
End If

If protected = "Yes" Then
ActiveSheet.Protect DrawingObjects:=True, Contents:=True, Scenarios _
:=True ' Re-establishes protection, without password
End If

actcell.Select ' Re-establishes active cell position

Application.ScreenUpdating = True

Application.Calculation = xlAutomatic
ActiveWorkbook.PrecisionAsDisplayed = False
Application.ScreenUpdating = True 'Resets screen updating

End Sub

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