Hide and Seek – Column A

Cannot unhide column A?

I know… it sounds another silly thing in #Excel.  But I do believe many novice users have had this experience before.  If you were one of them, you would know how frustrating that would be.  I know, because I was one of them…  ;p

Perhaps all we know, we need to select at least two columns (with the hidden column(s) in between) in order to unhide columns.  Since there is no column on the left to column A, we may find it difficult to do such a simple thing.

Indeed, there are many ways we can do to unhide Column A.


1. Click on Column B (on top of the column header) and then drag to left.  We will see the tiny box “1048576R x 2C” as shown in the following GIF:

Excel Tip - unhide column A

Yeah… we had just selected two columns and unhide column A successfully.

2. Select the whole sheet and unhide columns

First, click on the upper left intersection of row and column header…

Excel Tip - unhide column A (1)

… then right click on any column header –> Unhide

Excel Tip - unhide column A (2)

Yes, we made it… but all other hidden columns got unhidden.

Excel Tip - unhide column A (3)

This might not the thing that we wanted. 😦

3. Select any cell on column A, then unhide…

The question is… how could we select a cell that is hidden?

Answer: Simply type the cell reference in Name Box.

Excel Tip - unhide column A (1)

Tip: Hidden cell cannot be reached by normal navigation with mouse or arrow key.  We need Name Box or GoTo… to go to any cell (including hidden cells) on a sheet.

Once the active cell is on column A, we may unhide the active column(s) easily.  Go to HOME tab –> Cells group –> Format –> Hide & Unhide –> Unhide Columns

Excel Tip - unhide column A (4)


Tried all the above methods but neither worked?

See the following GIF…

Column A should have been unhidden as we could navigate to column A and B back and forth by using arrow keys.  But still, column A was not visible… WHY?

Excel Tip - unhide column A (2)

This should be one of the most frustrating moments in Excel.  No worries as you are about to solve this weird problem. 

If you had encountered this situation, there’s a high chance related to Column Width

Try the following:

  1. Select both column A and B.

Excel Tip - unhide column A (5)

2. Right-click column header B –> Column Width

Excel Tip - unhide column A (6)

3. Set Column width to 8 (or any other number)

Excel Tip - unhide column A (7)

Our mysterious column A is back. 🙂

Excel Tip - unhide column A

A similar situation on row was discussed in details in the post – When unhide row doesn’t work….

Still not seeing column A???

There is still a low chance that column A is still invisible to you after all of the above: You can navigate to column A by using arrow key; you checked the column width is wide enough to be displayed…

As the last resort, please check the following:

Excel Tip - unhide column A (final)

Make sure the panes/column is not frozen.  If it is frozen, you need to ♫Let it go… ♫Let it go♫… (by Unfreeze Panes).  🙂


IF, after doing all of the above, you still cannot see column A… then you may need to sing ♫Let it be… ♫Let it be♫ Let it be… 😛


About MF

An Excel nerd who just transition into a role related to data analytics at current company......😊 Recently in love with Power Query and Power BI.😍 Keep learning new Excel and Power BI stuffs and be amazed by all the new discoveries.
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4 Responses to Hide and Seek – Column A

  1. Dave keesee says:

    I had tried all the suggestions I could find on this – and it was the freeze panes problem. Thank you very much for such a thorough set of instructions


  2. DataScopic says:

    Great blogpost! This is one basic problem that can send people into real panic … and it’s funny. 🙂


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