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Change Column Widths in Excel

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Change Column Widths Using the Ribbon
Change Column Widths in Excel 2007

Change Column Widths in Excel 2007

© Ted French

Change Column Widths Using the Ribbon

Excel has three options listed on the Home tab of the ribbon for changing column widths:

  • Change column widths to a set size
  • Auto fit the column width to accommodate a selected piece of data in the column
  • Change the default column width for all columns in the current worksheet

Note: The unit of measure for column widths in Excel are number of characters. For example, a column width of 15 will only display the first 15 characters of a label or text data in the cell.

Longer text entries will cut off if the cell to the right contains data.

Change Column Widths to a Set Size

Note: If you wish to change the width of more than one column, select at least one cell in each column. For help with selecting cells in non-adjust columns read the tutorial on Selecting Non-Adjacent Cells in Excel.

  1. Click on a cell in the column you want to change.

  2. Click on the Home tab of the ribbon.

  3. Click on the Format option on the ribbon to open the drop down menu.

  4. Click on the Column Width option in the drop down menu to open the Column Width dialog box.

  5. Type in the number of characters for the new column width.

  6. Click OK.

  7. The width of selected column will change to match the number of characters set in the dialog box.

AutoFit Column Width to a Selected Data Entry

  1. Add at least one piece of data to a cell that is wider or narrower than the standard column width.

  2. Click on the cell containing the data entered above.

  3. Click on the Home tab of the ribbon.

  4. Click on the Format option on the ribbon to open the drop down menu.

  5. Click on the AutoFit Column Width option in the drop down menu.

  6. The width of the entire column will change to match the width of the data in the selected cell even if it is not the widest entry in the column.

Change the Default Column Width

  1. Click on the Home tab of the ribbon.

  2. Click on the Format option on the ribbon to open the drop down menu.

  3. Click on the Default Width option in the drop down menu to open the Standard Width dialog box.

  4. Type in the number of characters for the new standard column width.

  5. Click OK.

  6. The width of all columns in the current worksheet will change to match the number of character set in the dialog box.
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