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: AutoFitting Tables.

AutoFitting Tables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 30, 2021)

3

Word makes it very easy to add tables to your documents. Once added, you may need to adjust the width of the columns in your table to fit your needs. There are a myriad of ways you can do this, as has been covered in other issues of WordTips. One of the quickest ways you can adjust the width of columns is to use the AutoFit feature of Word. This feature is particularly useful if you have a small amount of information in each cell of your table. To use the feature, follow these steps:

  1. Select the entire table.
  2. Make sure the Layout tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  3. In the Cell Size group click AutoFit. Word displays a drop-down list of choices.
  4. Choose AutoFit Contents from the choices.

The effect on your table depends on whether it contains information or not. If the table is empty, the columns are evenly resized so they fit within the page margins. If there is information in any of the columns, the column width is set so that information fits on a line (if possible).

If your table contains information, you can use the mouse to quickly do an AutoFit. You do that by simply double-clicking the mouse on the left border of the table. The column widths adjust automatically, the same as if you went through the steps detailed above.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5971) 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: AutoFitting Tables.

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 the COMPARE Field

The COMPARE field is rather esoteric, but it can be helpful when you need to compare two values using fields. The result ...

Discover More

Controlling the Bold Text Attribute

When processing a document in a macro, you may need to make some of your text bold. It's easy to do using the Bold ...

Discover More

Problems with Default Workbook and Worksheet Templates

You can create a default template for both your workbooks and worksheets. These should be placed in the xlstart folder, ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Heading Changes for Multi-page Tables

When you have a long table that extends over multiple pages, Word allows you to specify one or more rows to be repeated ...

Discover More

Underlining Cells, Not Space Between Cells

Word provides a couple of ways you can underline information, including underlining table cells and their contents. ...

Discover More

Limiting Lines in a Table Cell

When creating tables, Word automatically sets the size of the cells. But what if you want to make sure each cell is a ...

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 1 + 8?

2019-01-18 09:47:15

Dave M Texas

Is there a way to have the default behavior be to Autofit Contents? It is rare that I paste a table and do not need to then change the layout to Autofit Contents. It would be wonderful if I could set this as the default behavior.


2018-10-29 19:20:58

Anna Burn

Is there an automatic way to make all tables resize to fit window? Maybe something in Options? I have a lot of large tables and it's a bit annoying to manually update all of them to fit on the page.


2018-02-13 14:45:11

Sherry Evans

MS Word 2007 shows no "Layout" tab. I want to autofit table column width.


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.