Are some columns in your Excel file missing? If so, don’t worry; they are likely hidden and not gone forever. Hiding columns in Excel makes them disappear from the worksheet without actually deleting the information the cells contain. In fact, it is easy to hide and unhide columns in Excel in just five simple steps.
Hiding and unhiding columns do not affect any formulas or data contained in the hidden cells. Additionally, when you save a workbook with columns hidden, those columns will remain hidden when you reopen the file. The steps outlined below take an in-depth look at how you can quickly unhide columns in Excel, but the same steps also work with Apple Numbers and Google Sheets.
Step 1: Open Excel File With Hidden Columns
To unhide a column in Excel, you first need to open the file. The easiest way to do so is by locating the file in Windows Explorer on a PC or Finder if you are on a Mac. Alternatively, you can open Microsoft Excel and then choose to open an existing file.
Step 2: Locate the Hidden Columns
After opening the file in Excel, you should quickly scan through it to look for any hidden columns. It may be hard to tell, but hidden columns have two lines, and the corresponding letter is skipped. For instance, if column C is hidden, the letters will go from B to D.
Step 3: Highlight Adjacent Columns
Once you’ve determined what column is hidden, you must highlight the two adjacent columns. Click on one letter and drag across the hidden column into the adjacent one to highlight both. In our example, we would click and hold the mouse button on B and drag over to D before releasing. Both the B and D columns should now be highlighted.
Step 4: Right-click to Open the Menu
With the two adjacent columns highlighted, right-click with your mouse or trackpad to open the dropdown menu. You must right-click on one of the highlighted columns for the menu to appear. Older versions of Excel also offer the same options under “Edit” in the top menu bar.
Step 5: Select “Unhide”
After right-clicking on the highlighted columns, you need to select “Unhide” from the menu. The hidden column should now be fully visible in Excel. If you still can’t see the column, ensure it is hidden by checking to see if its letter at the top is missing. If the letter is missing, try again to highlight the adjacent columns and press the “Unhide” button.
Hide Columns in Excel
Hiding a column in Excel is just as simple as unhiding one. Just highlight the column you want to hide by clicking on its label. With the column highlighted, right-click to open the dropdown menu. Finally, select “Hide” to make the column go away. You can also hide rows in Excel by clicking on the appropriate number on the left.
Unhide an Entire Workbook or Worksheet in Excel
Do not confuse unhiding a column in Excel with the unhide workbook function. Hiding a workbook allows you to make the entire thing disappear while keeping Excel open. This is useful if you don’t want others to see what you are working on. To hide or unhide a workbook, go to the “View” tab and select the “Hide” or “Unhide” button in the Window section.
Besides hiding an entire workbook, it is also possible to hide worksheets. You can see all of the worksheets at the bottom of the Excel screen. To hide one, right-click it and select “Hide.” Hiding a worksheet is a great way to clean up an Excel file, especially if the worksheet just contains formulas or copied data that is not needed.
Although the Unhide button in Excel can be a little tricky to find, it is essential for those who work with the program. But remember that the hide and unhide buttons are always lit up in the menu. This creates some confusion as you may believe there are hidden columns even where there aren’t. The best way to ensure a column is not hidden is by verifying that no column letters are skipped.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock.com.