Changing Column Width

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 25, 2015)

2

It is a rare worksheet in which each column of data is the same width as every other column. Fortunately, Excel allows you to independently adjust column width for each column in your worksheet. The quickest way to do this is to use the mouse in the following manner:

  1. Move the mouse so it is over the dividing line between two columns in the column headings area of the worksheet. Choose the dividing line that is to the right of the column whose width you want to adjust. The mouse cursor changes to a double-headed arrow.
  2. Click and hold the left mouse button.
  3. Drag the mouse left or right until the column is the desired width.
  4. Release the mouse button.

You can also automatically adjust the width of a column to match the width of the longest cell contents in the column by double-clicking on the dividing line between columns.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1936) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Multiple Print Areas on a Single Printed Page

Want to print small, non-contiguous areas of your worksheet all on a single page? You might think that defining a ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of "Comment" in Comments

When you add a comment to a document, Word presents that comment in a very specific way. If you want to change the way in ...

Discover More

Creating a Copy without Formulas

Excel makes copying worksheets (duplicating them) rather easy. However, you may want a worksheet copy that differs from the ...

Discover More

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!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Hiding and Unhiding Columns

Want to hide a column so it doesn't appear in the worksheet? It's easy to do using the formatting capabilities of Excel.

Discover More

Unhiding a Single Column

In a worksheet with lots of hidden columns it is a real pain to try to unhide just one or two columns. The best solution is ...

Discover More

Centering Across Columns

Have a heading you need centered across a few columns? It's easy to do using the tool described in this tip.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three minus 0?

2015-04-27 10:09:41

1695814

If you are averse to the mouse, alt-o-c-a (alt-fOrmat-Column-Autofit) will set the width for the selected cell(s).

If you want to quickly select the entire column, use ctrl-space bar, then alt-o-c-a to set the width. (Shift-space bar selects the entire row.)


2015-04-25 05:20:28

Richard Finlinson

Double clicking to automatically determine the column width is a very useful feature as it adjusts to fit the widest entry in the column. It is therefore best to do this once all data has been entered to avoid the need to do it multiple times. It should be noted that changing a column heading to Bold, for instance, will increase the width required. Particular attention should be paid to column A, where this will not necessarily work. Titles etc. are frequently entered in column A and then centralised, so that they no longer appear to be in column A. Using this feature on column A, therefore, will calculate width requirement including the titles, which may well be greatly in excess of the widest data in that column.


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share