Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Displaying a Hidden First Column.

Displaying a Hidden First Column

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 3, 2020)


Excel makes it easy to hide and unhide columns. What isn't so easy is displaying a hidden column if that column is the left-most column in the worksheet. For instance, if you hide column A, Excel will dutifully follow out your instructions. If you later want to unhide column A, the solution isn't so obvious.

To unhide the left-most columns of a worksheet when they are hidden, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Go To from the Edit menu, or press F5. Excel displays the Go To dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Go To dialog box.

  3. In the Reference field at the bottom of the dialog box, enter A1.
  4. Click on OK. Cell A1 is now selected, even though you cannot see it on the screen.
  5. Choose Column from the Format menu, then choose Unhide.

Another way to display the first column is to click on the header for column B, and then drag the mouse to the left. If you release the mouse button when the pointer is over the gray block that marks the intersection of the row and column headers (the blank gray block just above the row headers), then column B and everything to its left, including the hidden column A, are selected. You can then choose Column from the Format menu and then choose Unhide.

A third method is even niftier, provided you have a good eye and a steady mouse pointer. If you move your mouse pointer into the column header area, and then slowly move it to the left, you notice that it turns into a double-headed arrow with a blank spot in the middle as you position the pointer over the small area immediately to the left of the column B header. This double-headed arrow is a bit difficult to describe; it looks most closely like the double-headed arrow that appears when you position the pointer over the dividing line between column headers. It is different, however, because instead of a black line dividing the double arrows, there are two black lines with a gap between them.

When your mouse pointer changes to this special double-headed arrow, all you have to do is right-click and choose Unhide. Your previously missing column A magically reappears.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2626) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Displaying a Hidden First Column.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is eight minus 6?

2020-06-18 07:21:37


thank you g and
Unfreezing panes was the only suggestion which worked for me. feel so releived.

2020-06-17 15:18:06


well, none of that was working, apparently Freeze Panes was set and for some reason the column A was hidden as part of that,, geez (I think freeze panes worked better in prior versions)

2020-03-26 15:00:31

Colleen Fleming


2020-03-25 01:15:38


Thanks for the tip. It worked for me after trying so many other suggestions.

2020-01-03 06:06:15

Dave Roberts

Yet another way to unhide column A is to enter A1 into the Name box. Select Column Width and type in a number; I use 12. It's even easier if you have the column width icon in the QAT as I do.

2019-07-18 13:16:19

Richard R Mitchell

Displaying a Hidden First Column: Proposed solutions seem a bit tedious. Why not use the Name Box; enter the range "A1" and click. Then use
Format > Column > Unhide. This works for any hidden columns by entering the range in the Name Box that includes the hidden column(s).

R R Mitchell

2019-04-02 10:15:52

Kimnet Williams

This is amazing! I learn't something new in Excel. I was wondering why my column (A) was not showing out of the blues on a specific, yet still, other sheets were showing my column A. I did as was suggested above by Allen Wyatt and I must say that I am satisfied. Thanks much.

2018-03-28 17:33:42


None of the above worked, but when I copied & pasted into a new sheet, the left hand columns were visible

2017-10-31 16:31:38


ok it works for excel 2010 do exact what he said and when you go to the format menu scroll down to hide/unhide and select unhide columns and you will have what ever column you chose in the edit menu back.. so, if you chose A1 then A1 will come back... you cant skip the edit menu and go straight to the format menu and try to unhide it wont work.. you have to go to the edit menu by pressing f5 then type in the column you want to unhide press ok, then go to the format menu and do what was said to do...

2017-10-10 07:28:50


Okay! so i tried all of the above and nothing worked :( but what Paul says in the comments to copy paste the sheet into a new sheet and yes i tried that and it worked, got the missing column A back. Thanks Paul!

2017-08-08 09:28:42


this didnt work:( Bt have specialised spreadsheets

2017-06-07 08:01:04


I had a worksheet with a hidden column A in Excel 2016. I have tried every trick that I could find to unhide column A without any success. Finally, I selected the entire worksheet and pasted it into a new worksheet. Column A finally appeared! You may want to include this as a final step if nothing else works.

2017-03-05 22:01:19


Thanks a million Peggy and Dee !!! Priceless tip ... thank God I came across your tip ... must remember to UNFREEZE :D have a great day, guys!

2016-10-28 09:39:54


NONE of these worked.

2016-10-12 17:19:49


This was a LIFE SAVER. I couldn't see columns A-C on a critical Excel. Thank you for posting this tip.

2016-08-19 21:55:33


Same as Dee 11 July 2016 - None of the tips worked. Unfreezing the panes off of the View tab did it.

2016-07-20 09:59:03

Steven Dale

I would recommend you provide the actual instructions for doing this instead of the fake instructions provided above.

I would love to sit in on a designers meeting for excel; it would be amazing to hear how they come up with ways to make things unnecessarily difficult.

2016-07-11 11:30:33


Nothing else worked until I unfreezed the rows and magically my columns that have been hiding someplace appeared again.

2016-06-03 11:47:56


Thank you!!

2016-05-06 12:18:42


Wow. I, too, had to unfreeze the panes of the spread sheet I was given, but then the first option worked. Rejoicing greatly here.

2016-03-02 09:20:57

Lori Wilhite

I had to unfreeze panes in order to use these suggestions. Column A had disappeared and I couldn't get it back until I did this.

2016-01-19 04:04:07


Thank you for this tip - it worked with first option. The 2nd and 3rd options I had tried previously and you are right in that you need a steady hand with the mouse! these options didn't work for me -- so glad I found your website.

2016-01-07 22:21:39

Dilli Binadi

This was really helpful. Thanks a lot!

2015-12-17 02:26:32

Frank Moore

This was very helpful. Thank you very much!!!

2015-12-09 12:42:58

Irene Lozano

Thanks, the best instructions on how to unhide column A in 2007 version.

2015-09-21 05:39:08

Willy Vanhaelen

Read also the comments below, especially mine of 1st January 2015.

2015-09-20 15:58:22


columns a & B are hidden for me and none of the above work

2015-06-27 11:49:50


unfreeze was the key for me also...thank you

2015-04-29 18:48:20

Joe Jet

unfreeze was the key for me, thanks

2015-04-08 05:41:56

Michael (Micky) Avidan

With all due respect - it is much more important to browse and read the previous comments.
Willy Vanhaelen pointed out the "Freezing" issue 3(!) months ago.
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)

2015-04-07 09:49:21


one important tip is to unfreeze panes. if not, nothing will work

2015-03-12 11:29:56


Nothing worked until I tried your tip first. Spot on. Thanks!

2015-01-22 14:06:53

J. Whiteman

Thank you for telling how to find hidden Cell A1 in Excel.

2015-01-01 05:06:52

Willy Vanhaelen

That can happen when you scroll off the screen column A and then freeze the first column now being column B. In that case you will never see column A and it appears to be hidden. So unhide has then no effect because it is not really hidden.

The method you describe or simply apply unfreeze can "unhide" column A.

2014-12-31 03:49:08


I have found on sheets that are are used in both 2003 & 2007 versions none of these methods works. But with a slight modification method one will. At step 4 of method 1 instead of choosing Unhide, first choose Hide, then redo the step using Unhide.

2014-12-30 09:57:58


It worked. Thanks!

2014-12-23 05:40:56


Thanks for the tip.

2014-12-13 15:47:44

Robert Miller

I copied the data onto a worksheet that
included Column A. Quick and easy. Same principle as stated by Dennis.

2014-11-20 11:56:04


If the above doesn't work when trying to unhide Column A on someone else's spreadsheet, it sometimes help to Unfreeze Panes.

2014-09-29 04:57:51


Great Tip!

I found thought hat using Method 3 if you hover your mouse over the left of column B as described until you get the double headed arrows, instead of right clicking and selecting unhide, you can simply left click and drag column A back to any size you wish!!

Kind regards


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