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Shrink Excel Cells to Fit

Posted By On August 25, 2009 @ 11:23 AM In MS Excel | No Comments

Ever have data in MS Excel that’s just a bit too long for the cell?

What happened?

Did the column widen to accommodate? Or, maybe you got the infamous ##### to let you know that the number didn’t fit. Oh, and let’s not forget everyone’s favorite: the old “convert the number to scientific notation.”

If the results of Excel’s attempt to accommodate the large data are not to your satisfaction, here’s an alternative you can try to see if you like it any better. (After all, too many columns with extra width may cause problems for printing later on in your day).

Excel has a cell formatting option called “shrink to fit.” Its effects on data look like this:

image

What it does is reduce the font size for the data piece that’s too long for the column. (Of course, there are limits and if the data is too long, Excel will also make some of the usual changes).

Also, should you increase the column width, Excel will automatically adjust the font size back up, maxing out at the original font size.

So, how do we “shrink to fit”?

That’s a good question, so let’s get to that part.

You need to begin by highlighting the cell(s), column(s) or row(s) that need this setting.

Next, we need to open the Format Cells dialog box. (Older version of Excel would use the Format menu, Format Cells choice; Excel 2007 users would need to click the dialog box launcher in the bottom right corner of the Font section on the Home tab of the Ribbon; or… everyone will find that either a Right-click, Format Cells choice or Ctrl + 1 will do just fine.)

At this point, you need to select the Alignment tab.

image

In the Text Control section, select the Shrink to fit choice.

Click OK.

That’s it. Just one more tool to add to your toolbox when you’re handling long data in Excel!

~ April

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