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AutoFit Columns in MS Word

Thursday, May 6th, 2010 by | Filed Under: MS Word

Have you used a table in MS Word lately?

Find that your column is a little too narrow to fit the data?

Now, if we were working in Excel we’d just double click the right border of the column label… but this isn’t Excel so we’re out of luck, right?

Wrong. AutoFit works on Word tables too!

All you have to do is to double click the right border of the column you want adjusted.

Same as with Excel, the column width is adjusted to accommodate the data.

Of course, as with anything, there are pros and cons to this process.

The big pro – the column width will be set without affecting the widths of the other columns in the table.

On the other hand… if the column width is increased then so is the total width of the table (or decreased for that matter). This isn’t a problem as long as the adjustments aren’t pushing your table into the margins and beyond.

But, when compared to the manual routine…. adjust a column by hand – which then affects the width of the adjacent column – so now I’ve got to fix that column width – which affects the next one and on and on and on.

As you know… it’s a domino effect – depending upon the column’s location, manually changing one may require the subsequent changing of many more.

So why would you adjust column widths manually? Well one of the best reasons I can think of is that it doesn’t automatically change the width of the entire table.

Instead of adding the extra width to the table (for a column width increase) it takes the space from the column to the right. (Basically it’s reallocating the combined width of the two columns into a different proportion.)

Anyway, AutoFit or manually adjust the choice is yours. I choose whichever one is most efficient for the current situation.


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