Not every problem is big. Sometimes, it’s the little
repetitive gotchas that drive you nuts. This month, I’ll share a few problems
that seemed large to the readers but have simple solutions.

Unhide columns and

Mark had trouble applying the technique I shared in a previous post called, “How to unhide row 1 and column A in an Excel sheet.” When unhiding columns or
rows, you select the adjacent columns or rows first. That’s a problem if the
hidden column or row is column A or row 1. You can’t select the column to the
left or the row above, because neither exists.

The technique I shared works, but Mark was trying to unhide
columns A though D, not just column A. If you have adjacent columns or rows
hidden, you have two options:

  • You can unhide column A using the technique
    shared in the linked article above and then unhide the remaining columns as you
    normally would by selecting the adjacent columns.
  • You can unhide the continuous block of columns
    using the technique shared in the linked article above, which is more efficient that
    the first method.

Let’s walk through the second method with a short example
where columns A through D are hidden:

  1. First, hide columns A through D by selecting
    those four columns and right-clicking the selection. Choose Hide from the
    resulting contextual menu. Now, you’re ready to unhide them.
  2. In the Name box — to the left of the Formula
    bar — enter A1:D1 (as shown in Figure A). Notice that the first visible column is
    Figure A
  3. Press Enter. Doing so will select A1: D1, but
    you won’t see that happen. The columns are still hidden.
  4. Click the Home tab. From the Format dropdown in
    the Cells group, choose Hide & Unhide. In Excel 2003, choose Column from
    the Format menu, and choose Unhide.
  5. Select Unhide (as shown in Figure B) and Excel
    will expose all four hidden columns at the same time.
    Figure B

Office 365 on the Mac

A lot of people are curious about Office 365. If you’ve visited the
official site, you already know that there’s a ton of information, and finding
the details that you need can be an overwhelming (annoying) task. Kimmo asked
if he must purchase two separate licenses for his Mac and his PC. The good news
for Kimmo is that the answer is “no” — once you have an Office 365 license, you can install the appropriate edition on multiple systems
(the number depends on your license). 

Learn more about Office 365:

Page numbering in

Stanford has a 15-page document with two sections: The first
13 pages and the last 2 pages. He’s using Word’s predefined x of y page-numbering format, which displays a total of 15 pages. He doesn’t
want to include the final two ancillary pages in the total count for section
one. He wants the numbering format to display a total of 13 — and fortunately,
the solution is easier than Stanford thought! (The instructions are almost the
same for all versions back to Word 2003.)

Word’s x of y format (shown in Figure C) inserts two fields: {PAGE} and {NUMPAGES}. 

Figure C



Word’s x of y format.

Figure D
shows the fields and their results in a document’s header. 

Figure D



The fields and their results.

To display the field
codes instead of their results, select the entire field expression and press
[Shift]+[F9]. Repeat the process to display the numbers.

As you probably know, {PAGE} returns the current page number
and {NUMPAGES} returns the total number of pages in the document. Stanford needs Word’s third numbering field,
{SECTIONPAGES}, which returns the total number of pages in the current section.

In Stanford’s situation, the solution is simple, but it
assumes that the document has a Next Page section break between two sections — if
you’re following along, be sure to insert the appropriate section break and the
predefined x of y numbering format. (Another option is to download the available .docx or .doc demo file, which contains both in a
two-page document for your convenience. Stanford’s document has 15 pages,
but the number of pages doesn’t matter. I’m using two pages to simplify the

With the predefined numbering format and section break in
place, you’re ready to fix the numbering format as follows:

  1. Open section one’s header by double-clicking the
    header area in that section (page one).
  2. Select the numbering expression in the header
    and press [Shift]+[F9] so that you can see the actual field codes.
  3. Select the NUM component and replace it with
    SECTION, as shown in Figure E.
    Figure E
  4. When you’re done, select the entire expression
    and press [Shift]+[F9] to display the results.

At this point, the {SECTIONPAGES} field displays 1 of 1 correctly,
even though there are two pages in the document. The {PAGES} field continues to
display the current page number for the document (not the section) in section
two (as shown in Figure F). The results — 2 of 1 — is going to be incorrect in
almost any situation, not just Stanford’s. (I clicked Show/Hide in the
Paragraph group on the Home tab to display the section break.)

Figure F



The {PAGES} field continues to display the current page number for the document.

Stanford doesn’t want page numbers for section two, so
deleting the modified numbering format from section two’s header is an easy
fix! To do so, you must first break the header link between the two sections. Here’s how:

  1. Open the header for the second section (double-click the header or footer area). In this
    case, you’re working in the header on page 2. Doing so will display the Same As
    Previous tab (circled in Figure F). If you can’t see the section break mark,
    click Show/Hide in the Paragraph group as mentioned earlier. You must work in
    the header that follows the section
  2. On the contextual Design tab, click the Link To
    Previous option in the Navigation group to unlink the two sections. In Word
    2003, you’ll click the same option on the Header and Footer toolbar.
  3. Select the numbering expression in section two’s
    header (page 2) and press Delete.
  4. Close the header.

By breaking the link between the two sections, you can
delete the header in section two without deleting the header in section one. You
end up with a document that displays the total number of pages in section one and
no page numbers in section two.

Stanford had all the tools in place. He just needed the
right page numbering field in section one’s header. Unfortunately, numbering
fixes aren’t always so simple. You can learn about a more complex page
numbering scheme in “Pro tip: Calculate the current page number within a section in Word.”

Send me your question
about Office

I answer readers’ questions when I can, but there’s no
guarantee. When contacting me, be as specific as possible: For instance, “Please troubleshoot my workbook and fix
what’s wrong” probably won’t get a response, but “Can you tell me why this formula isn’t returning the expected results?” might. I’m not reimbursed by TechRepublic for my time or expertise, nor do I
ask for a fee from readers. You can contact me at