Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Displaying a Hidden First Column.

Displaying a Hidden First Column

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 1, 2015)


Excel makes it easy to hide and unhide columns. What isn't so easy is displaying a hidden column if that column is the left-most column in the worksheet. For instance, if you hide column A, Excel will dutifully follow out your instructions. If you later want to unhide column A, the solution isn't so obvious.

To unhide the left-most columns of a worksheet when they are hidden, follow these steps:

  1. Press F5. Excel displays the Go To dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Go To dialog box.

  3. In the Reference field at the bottom of the dialog box, enter A1.
  4. Click on OK. Cell A1 is now selected, even though you cannot see it on the screen.
  5. Make sure the Home tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  6. Click the Format tool in the Cells group, then choose Hide & Unhide, then Unhide Columns.

Another way to display the first column is to click on the header for column B, and then drag the mouse to the left. If you release the mouse button when the pointer is over the gray block that marks the intersection of the row and column headers (the blank gray block just above the row headers), then column B and everything to its left, including the hidden column A, are selected. You can then display the Home tab of the ribbon and click Format | Hide & Unhide | Unhide Columns.

A third method is even niftier, provided you have a good eye and a steady mouse pointer. If you move your mouse pointer into the column header area, and then slowly move it to the left, you notice that it turns into a double-headed arrow with a blank spot in the middle as you position the pointer over the small area immediately to the left of the column B header. This double-headed arrow is a bit difficult to describe; it looks most closely like the double-headed arrow that appears when you position the pointer over the dividing line between column headers. It is different, however, because instead of a black line dividing the double arrows, there are two black lines with a gap between them.

When your mouse pointer changes to this special double-headed arrow, all you have to do is right-click and choose Unhide. Your previously missing column A magically reappears.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9012) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Displaying a Hidden First Column.

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 nine more than 8?

2016-07-20 11:27:40


In response to the 3rd method, ones you have the double-headed arrow, you don't need to right click->unhide. Simply clicking and dragging to the right will also display column A.

2016-03-26 07:51:16

Willy Vanhaelen

Perhaps your comumn A has a width of 0 (zero). Then you cannot see it but it is not hidden.

Use the first method and in 5. select "Column Width..." instead of "Hide & Unhide" and enter a number > 0.

2016-03-25 11:46:11


I've tried all three of these ideas to display the first column and none of them will work. Any other ideas? Thanks.

2015-10-26 01:21:09

Alexandre Barbier

I had devise another step to UNhide my lost Column A: I had to first HIDE B and left, THEN UNhide and A finally reappeared.
Could there LEVELS of Hide/UnHide?

2015-07-01 20:48:26


I tried every ones tips and nothing worked until I unfroze panes. Many thanks Nathan

2015-06-02 10:47:11


In my previous post I forget to identify where I got the macro. It is from a pdf file called ExcelTips. this is a weekly newsletter.

2015-06-02 10:44:07


I regularly hide and unhide columns in my worksheets. If I have an entire range of columns hidden, I find it a bother to unhide a single column out of all those hidden. For instance, if I hide columns C:M, and I want to unhide column F, then I need to unhide the entire range and then rehide C:E and G:M. (There are other ways I could accomplish the same task, but none of them are particularly endearing.)
However, I find that a single column can be unhidden very easily using a macro. Consider the following:
Sub UnhideSingleColumn()
Dim Col As String
Dim rng As Range

Col = InputBox("Enter column to unhide.", "Unhide Column")
If Col = "" Then Exit Sub
On Error Resume Next
' if not a valid range, an error occurs
Set rng = ActiveSheet.Columns(Col)
If Err.Number <> 0 Then
On Error GoTo 0
MsgBox "Invalid input! Please input a valid column."
GoTo StartHere
End If

rng.EntireColumn.Hidden = False

MsgBox "Column " & UCase(Col) & " is now visible.", _
vbOKOnly, "Unhide Specified Column"
Set rng = Nothing
On Error GoTo 0
End Sub

The macro prompts the user for which column should be made visible, and then tries to select that column. If the column cannot be selected, then an error is generated and the user is again asked for input. If the column can be selected, then its .Hidden property is turned off, thereby making the column visible.

2015-02-18 16:06:49

Ross Goodell

Nathan's comment about the Freeze Panes solved it for me. None of the rest had worked, so I tried unfreezing panes and then selecting cell A1 and doing the rest of method 1 above. That worked. Thanks.

2014-05-31 00:39:03


Thanks for the clear instructions. I need to do this a number of times on different reports each month and I've been struggling to understand why some techniques seem to work some times and not at other times.

2014-05-28 14:17:40


Nathan, you just saved my life!!

2014-01-21 17:30:46


This is the very reason I only EVER group columns - I never hide columns or rows - at least with the "+" at the top, I can still manipulate the columns and I am reminded they are there.

2014-01-14 09:12:58


The only problem with Kim's and Karen's option are if you do not want to unhide all the columns, just column A. I always did the double-headed arrow method.

2014-01-13 10:45:31


You can also select all, right click on the column header, and click unhide

2014-01-11 10:13:32


Why not this: by clicking the top left corner of the ss, above the intersection of column A and row 1, the entire spreadsheet is selected and you can now unhide all hidden columns and rows at once. (This is the only advised use of selecting the whole spreadsheet I can think of!)

2014-01-11 09:04:00

Nathan Dane

Additionally, the column may sometimes appear hidden, but has actually been inadvertently locked offscreen through Freeze Panes.

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