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The secret to unhiding column A in an Excel worksheet

After you hide column A, it might seem like it's gone forever. Fortunately, there are two simple tricks for unhiding it.

Not everything in your worksheet needs to be privy to everyone. Confidentiality aside, sometimes endless data is just a nuisance. Even you won't want to see all of it all the time. Hiding a column tucks data out of sight without interfering with its function.

SEE: Download: Build your Excel skills with these 10 power tips (TechRepublic)

To hide a column, select it, choose Column from the Format menu, and then select Hide. Unhiding a column takes a bit of specialized knowledge, but it isn't difficult. Select the columns that are adjacent to the hidden column. You're really selecting three columns: the hidden column and both columns on either side of it. After selecting the hidden column and its adjacent columns, choose Column from the Format menu and then select Unhide. That works fine until you try to unhide column A, as there's only one adjacent column, column B. Selecting just column B won't select column A. Don't panic, column A isn't gone forever, and there's more than one way to unhide it:

  • Click column B's header cell and drag the mouse pointer to the left. Don't click any borders, just drag the selection mouse pointer (the fat arrow pointing down). Release the mouse with the pointer over the Select All cell (the blank gray cell that intersects the header and row cells). Doing so will selecteverything to the left, including column A. Now, choose Column from the Format menu, and the choose Unhide.
  • Hover the mouse over column B's header cell and move left. When the pointer changes from the selection arrow to a double arrow — this will happen as the mouse pointer nears the Select All cell — right-click and choose Unhide.

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About Susan Harkins

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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