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Fitting Text Into Cells

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Fitting Text Into Cells.

You have worked long and hard on your page design, including a couple of tables that are just right. Then, along comes a need to add a bit more text into one of the tables. The result is that the text in a cell wraps and pushes everything else down a bit. Now your whole design is thrown off. You long for a way to automatically adjust the size of the text in a cell so you won't have the wrapping and pushing occur.

Word provides a built-in option that may do the trick. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or cells that you want to format.
  2. Make sure the Layout tab of the ribbon is displayed. (This tab is only visible if you first do step 1.)
  3. Click the Properties tool in the Table group. Word displays the Table Properties dialog box.
  4. Select the Cell tab. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Cell tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

  6. Click on the Options button. Word displays the Cell Options dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  7. Figure 2. The Cell Options dialog box.

  8. Make sure the Fit Text check box is selected.
  9. Click on OK to close the Cell Options dialog box.
  10. Click on OK to close the Table Properties dialog box.

What Word does is to decrease the apparent size of the text so that everything fits. Word decreases the width of the text by "scrunching" (a highly technical term) the text together horizontally, without adjusting it vertically.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6081) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Fitting Text Into Cells.

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Comments for this tip:

Michael    14 Sep 2016, 04:31
This doesn't work
Roger    30 Aug 2016, 03:19
this tip does not work for Office 365 there is no auto fit text to cell option
Elaine Doga    26 Jul 2016, 10:55
I would like the text to shrink but also wrap around in the cell rather than continuously keep shrinking. The fit text seems to over-ride the wrap option. Any ideas?
Beth    11 Jun 2016, 05:59
I have used pdf forms and that function is available, also, but this one needs to be in Word. Just can't quite come up with the process to keep a properly formatted document once it is sent to users.
Paul Franklin Stregevsky    10 Jun 2016, 06:46
In other words, Beth, you'd like a way to make the text "shrink to fit" the way it shrinks automatically in PowerPoint. Interesting idea.
Beth    09 Jun 2016, 09:38
This is almost what I need, but not quite. I have a template with a question at the top of each section, and I want users to type their answers in the space below. The text should wrap as they type and keep normal formatted font/size if they stay within the box limits. If text runs too long, I want it to shrink the font size of everything they have written to stay within the box and not stretch the box.
Pete A    11 May 2016, 21:11
It DOES reduce the size of text that is too long for a table cell It ALSO spreads out text that is "too short" for a table cell, giving something like this:

T o o S h o r t

Need to just scrunch the long ones to fit, but don't mess with the ones that DO fit.

Thanks for the good writeup
pete    02 Apr 2016, 07:41
If set-width is so great... can I start the process over again... and create msg. with less characters?¿?
 
 

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