Fitting Your Text In a Table Cell

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 3, 2017)

1

Word includes an odd little feature that allows you to force text to fit within a single line of a table's cell. It does this by decreasing the apparent size of the text so that everything fits. It does this without (according to some Microsoft sources) changing the actual font size of the text. This makes little real-world difference, however, since the size of your text is changed on both the screen and any printouts.

It might be more accurate to say that while the height of the text used is not changed, the width is. You can take advantage of this Word table feature by following these steps:

  1. Select the cell or cells that you want to format. (If you want to format only a single cell, you can simply make sure the insertion point is within that cell.)
  2. Make sure the Layout tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  3. Click the small icon at the bottom-right corner of the Cell Size group. Excel displays the Table Properties dialog box, with the Cell tab selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Cell tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

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

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

You should note that if there is not enough text in a cell to fit all the way across the cell, Word forces the text to fit. This means it will increase the spaces between words and characters to fill the cell. It will not, however, widen the actual characters that make up the cell contents. Word apparently only makes characters narrower, not wider.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1887) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is one more than 2?

2017-06-03 13:07:08

Jay

Thank you, Allen, this will be useful for developing data sheet at my site.

After playing with this a bit, I noticed that if you remove characters in a 'fit' cell that has begun scaling characters, the amount of scaling will not reset automatically. Adding characters will continue to reduce the scaling, but removing them will leave the cell locked in at the smallest scale achieved.

Also, there is a small error in Step 3 ... Excel should be Word.


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