Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Resizing Table Columns with the Mouse.

Resizing Table Columns with the Mouse

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 28, 2019)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


3

Word provides a variety of ways you can change the width of table columns using the mouse. The exact effect of each method depends on the version of Word you are using.

The simplest resizing you can do is to simply point to a column border with the mouse pointer and drag the border to a new location. Word adjusts the widths of the columns separated by the border.

If you hold down the Shift key as you drag a column border, the width of the column to the left of the border is changed, and the overall table width is adjusted accordingly. No other column widths are affected.

If you hold down the Ctrl key as you drag a column border, the width of the column to the left of the column border is adjusted, and the overall table width remains the same. All columns to the right of the table border are adjusted so they are wider or narrower in a proportional value.

If you hold down Shift+Ctrl as you drag a column border, the width of the column to the left is changed, the overall table width remains the same, and all column widths to the right are adjusted so they share equally in the remaining table width.

Holding down the Alt key as you drag a border adjusts columns the same as if you simply clicked and dragged a border. The only difference is that Word adds precise width notations in the Ruler area for each column. If you hold down Alt+Shift, you cannot drag any of the column borders in Word 2007 or Word 2010, but this keyboard combination does drag the column borders if you are using Word 2013 or a later version. If you hold down Alt+Ctrl or Alt+Shift+Ctrl, the effect is the same as just holding down Ctrl (or Shift+Ctrl), with the addition of the precise measurements.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3581) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Resizing Table Columns with the Mouse.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Understanding DATE Field Formatting

One of the most commonly used fields is the DATE field. You can specify how the DATE field displays the current date by ...

Discover More

Using the Same Range Name on Different Worksheets

Defined names can be a great boon when working in a worksheet. Usually names are available throughout an entire workbook, ...

Discover More

Enforcing a Do-Not-Use Word List

Got a list of words you don't want to appear in your documents? There are a number of ways that you can make sure they ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Freezing a Table

Tired of Word changing the dimensions of table cells to accommodate what you place in those cells? You can instruct Word ...

Discover More

Repeating Table Rows with Manual Page Breaks

Need to make sure part of a table is on one page and part on another? The way to do so is not to use manual page breaks, ...

Discover More

Moving a Table Column

Want to move a column in a table very easily? You can do so by using the same editing techniques you are already using.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is one more than 0?

2023-09-10 04:07:20

Al dTrain

Is it possible to take a nothing-special table (say 4x4) with minimal content (say a single character in each cell), and then increase/decrease WITH THE MOUSE the HEIGHT of ALL ROWS IN THE TABLE ALL AT ONCE by: #1 selecting the table; #2 appropriately positioning the mouse pointer; and #3 appropriately dragging the double-headed vertical mouse pointer up or down? When I use this procedure to resize with the mouse all rows in the table all at once, only a single row becomes available for resizing despite the entire table having been selected for starters. After resizing the one available row, the other rows are still selected, and I can change the row height of the other rows individually row-by-row over and over. I'm using Word 2019 version 2308 on Windows 10 version 22H2. I'm familiar with methods offered by Table Properties, AutoFit, and the Cell Size group. The behavior I'm describing is observed on my home computer and on computers at work that run Microsoft 365 for enterprise on Windows 10. My recollection is that that what I want to do used to work which is what accounts for my surprise that it's not working now. All help is appreciated.


2020-01-02 03:37:54

Richard Curtis

I like to use the column markers in the horizontal ruler to adjust the width of the left column without affecting the widths of columns to the right. The column marker looks like a densely-packed grid. Hovering the marker changes the mouse symbol to a double-headed arrow and a Move Table Column pop-up is shown. Drag the marker to suit.


2019-12-28 13:40:29

David Cohen

Another way to control table columns, rows, etc is by way of the "Table Properties". You get there by highlighting the entire table (but nothing beyond table borders): run the cursor across the top of the table to capture the entire table. Right click (Table, in the main menu bar) to get lots of features. Table Properties is toward the bottom


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.