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Shrink to Fit

Shrink to Fit

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:

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 window. (Right click, Format Cells choice or Ctrl + 1 or Format menu, Format Cells choice).

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

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