Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. 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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 29, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


9

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, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Adding Fonts To the Context Menu

Context menus appear when you right-click on different items in Word. These menus can be edited to add items, such as ...

Discover More

Inserting Different Dashes

Excel supports several types of dashes. This tip describes those different types and explains how to enter them in a cell.

Discover More

Automatically Inserting Tomorrow's Date

Do you routinely need to work with tomorrow's date? Why not create a template that automatically adds tomorrow's date to ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Fixing a Numeric Keypad Key

We all expect the keyboard keys to operate as normal, and when they don't, it can be bothersome. Geraldine had such a ...

Discover More

Disabling the F1 Key

Tired of hitting the F1 key by mistake and pulling up the Help system? Here are a couple of ways (one drastic and one not ...

Discover More

Clearing Large Clipboard Entries

Need to clear out a large amount of information saved on the Clipboard? All you need to do is to replace it with a small ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 + 0?

2023-12-29 09:29:42

Dave Roberts

Another method is to select A1 in the Name Box. Then change the Column Width to whatever number desired and press enter. I change column widths a lot so I've got the Column Width shortcut on my QAT.


2021-11-12 09:14:52

Tomek

@Alan,
It depends on the image settings and on the size of the image in comparison to column A.
1. If the image does not extend beyond the right edge of column A ***and*** it is set to "Move and Size with cells, it will hide when you hide the column A.
   If it extends beyond the right edge of column A with the same setting, its width will be scaled down so that its right edge stays in the same position in the column it is in.
2. If its property is set to "Don't move or size with cells" it will stay visible, independent of relative size. The columns will just move behind the image.
3. If its property is set to "Move but don't size with cells" it will stay visible, but will move to the left edge of the screen if it was not there already.


2021-11-11 10:54:42

Alan

A slightly different issue with the left-most column>
I have an image located in the first Column A. Irrespective of which of the 3 move properties radio buttons I select, the image remains where it was, being visible on screen over/in Column B, when I hide Column A.


2019-07-25 10:23:07

Willy Vanhaelen

@Jonathan Woods
Your method works fine if only column A is hidden. You can't use it if there are also other hidden columns you want to stay hidden


2019-07-24 08:30:59

Jonathan Woods

I've never had a problem un-hiding a hidden column A. Here's an even easier method than the three ways presented.

- Select the whole worksheet: Click on the grey block that marks the intersection of the row and column headers (the blank grey block just above the row headers).

- Move the mouse to column "B" header. (As if you were going to select column B, but don't click) The cursor becomes a black down arrow.

Right Click to get the menu. Then "Unhide".

3 clicks in total.


2019-07-15 09:28:28

Rick K

I use this simple Macro in my personal workbook to unhide everything
Sub SeeALL()
Columns("A:XFD").EntireColumn.Hidden = False
Rows("1:1048576").EntireRow.Hidden = False
Range("A1").Select
end sub


2019-07-13 12:27:36

BB

With the second tip, you can move cursor to column B, right click and select unhide instead of going Home, Format, | Hide & Unhide | Unhide Columns


2019-07-13 11:13:46

Willy Vanhaelen

When you scroll off the screen column A and then freeze the first column now being column B you will never see column A and it appears to be hidden.

In this case the 3 methods discribed in this tip will not work because column A is not really hidden, it is simply not visible. You can then only see it again by unfreezing panes in the Window section of the View Tab.


2019-07-13 09:55:09

JB

With the third method you can also left-click and drag to the right to unhide the column(s).


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.