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Finding Columns of a Certain Width

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: Finding Columns of a Certain Width.

Howard has a need to discover all the columns in a worksheet that are a given width. For instance, he needs to know which columns have a width of 3.6.

This can be done by using a macro. One of the properties your macro can access is the width of each column. This means that you can step through the columns and check those widths against the desired width (3.6) in the following manner:

Sub ListColumns()
    Dim dColWidth As Double
    Dim sMsg As String
    Dim x As Integer

    dColWidth = 3.6
    sMsg = ""
    For x = 1 To ActiveSheet.Columns.Count
        If Columns(x).ColumnWidth = dColWidth Then
            sMsg = sMsg & vbCrLf & x
        End If
    If sMsg = "" Then
        sMsg = "There are no columns with" & _
          vbCrLf & "a width of " & dColWidth
        sMsg = "The following columns have" & _
          vbCrLf & "a width of " & dColWidth & _
          ":" & vbCrLf & sMsg
    End If
    MsgBox sMsg
End Sub

This macro displays a message box that lists the columns that match the desired width. The macro can be made more robust with some simple changes. For instance, the following example prompts the user for a column width, counts the number of matches, and even compensates if the worksheet is using R1C1 referencing mode.

Sub Find_ColumnWidth()
    Dim Col As Integer          ' Column (loop variable)
    Dim ColsFound As Integer    ' Columns Found Count
    Dim Desired_Width As Double ' Column Width To Find
    Dim OutStr As String        ' Output String
    Dim Title As String         ' Msgbox Title
    Dim I As Integer
    Dim S As String

    ' Find out column width wanted
    S = InputBox("Enter ColumnWidth to find ?", _
      " Find ColumnWidth on " & ActiveSheet.Name)
    Desired_Width = Val(S)
    If Desired_Width = 0 Then Exit Sub

    ' Initialize Columns Found Count and Output String
    ColsFound = 0
    OutStr = ""

    For Col = 1 To ActiveSheet.Columns.Count
        If Columns(Col).ColumnWidth = Desired_Width Then
            ColsFound = ColsFound + 1

            If Application.ReferenceStyle = 1 Then
                ' Using "A1" format
                S = Cells(1, Col).Address(ReferenceStyle:=xlA1)
                S = Mid(S, 2, Len(S) - 3)
                ' Using "R1C1" format
                S = Trim(Str(Col))
            End If
            OutStr = OutStr & S & vbCrLf
        End If

    ' Construct MsgBox Title string
    Title = "Width=" & Desired_Width _
      & " on " & ColsFound & " column" _
      & Left("s", - (ColsFound > 1)) & " "

    If ColsFound = 0 Then
        OutStr = "No matches found"
    End If

    MsgBox OutStr, vbOKOnly, Title
End Sub

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3827) 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: Finding Columns of a Certain Width.

Related Tips:

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!


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