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: Double-Clicking to Widen Columns Won't Work.

Double-Clicking to Widen Columns Won't Work

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 30, 2016)


Normally, Excel allows you to double-click on the divider bar between column heads in order to widen a column. For instance, if you need to widen column C, all you need to do is move the mouse so it points to the divider between column headers for column C and column D; the mouse pointer changes to a double-headed arrow. When you double-click, column C is widened to accommodate the widest information in its cells.

There are times when double-clicking to widen a column won't work, however. In particular, Excel won't widen a column in this manner if the worksheet is protected. (The obvious solution is to unprotect the worksheet.)

You also cannot double-click to widen if the column is formatted using the Wrap Text attribute. You can use any different method of widening the column, but you cannot double-click.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2583) 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: Double-Clicking to Widen Columns Won't Work.

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 five more than 3?

2016-11-01 14:33:36

Nancy F

Neither of these situations is my case and I still cannot widen with a double click. Any other ideas?

2016-01-30 10:06:20

Henry Noble

A simpler description of double-clicking the column divider is that it triggers AutoFit Column Width. So, it will shrink or expand a column.

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