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Reveal Hidden Column A or Row 1

Hiding rows and columns can be very helpful in keeping worksheet users focused on important details or to keep them from straying into areas that you don’t want them to see. However, if you happen to hide either row 1 or column A, unhiding them can be a bit tricky.

‘Hidden’ is a formatting property of Excel rows and columns. As with all formatting you have to select the row(s) or column(s) that you want to hide or unhide and then apply the format.

If you have hidden column D, for example, you can select columns C through E, either by dragging on the column header or by clicking the column C header and shift clicking the column E header. Column D will be included in the selection so when you unhide, column D will be unhidden.

However, how do you select a column that is hidden when you can only see columns to its right? Well, you could select all columns by clicking the Select All button (that’s the little square at the top left corner, just above the first visible row and to the left of the first visible row. Then, when you unhide you will unhide all hidden columns (or rows depending on which you choose to unhide).

That’s all well and good if you don’t mind having to re-hide some rows or columns that were revealed in the process but you can select a column simply by selecting a cell within that column.

Wait, you say, if I can’t see the column, how do I select a cell in that column? That’s where the name box or the GoTo (<ctrl>G or <F5>) command can help you out. The video shows how to use the name box to select a cell in column A, then unhide the column using formatting and avoid the unwanted side-effect of unhiding other hidden columns. The video shows the technique in Excel 2007 but you can use the Format/Columns (or Rows) menu in earlier Excel versions to go to (select) any location on the worksheet.

There is yet another way to reveal a hidden left column or top row but it requires good mousing skills. Keep in mind that hiding a column or row simply sets its width (or height in the case of rows) to zero. If you hover your mouse over the left boundary of the leftmost visible column  in the column header, you can use the re-sizing handle to increase the width of the first hidden column to the left. For rows, use the top boundary of the topmost visible row.

One Response to “Reveal Hidden Column A or Row 1”

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