Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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 June 16, 2012)

2

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 to 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 and 2010. 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. ...

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Comments

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What is one less than 4?

2016-04-02 19:05:51

Chris Robinson

I was hoping to get this to work dynamically, so the table expanded and contracted horizontally with the contents, but alas it requires the autofit to be reapplied for each change.


2015-09-29 16:08:49

Paul Franklin Stregevsky

I embed each header and each footer in an invisible table, sized at "100 percent" to be flush with the margins. Of course, each time I insert a landscape section, I must unlink its header before I widen the header's table. If I forget, the portrait header will extend 1.5 inches beyond the right edge of the page. We've all been there.

With this tip, I was hoping to create a single header and a single footer. Apply AutoFit, and presto! The table would expand to 9 inches or contract to 6.5, automatically, each time a section toggled between portrait and landscape. It would even work when toggling the page size between letter and ledger.

Alas, it doesn't work. When I choose AutoFit, the landscape table stays at 6.5 inches. To make AutoFit work, I must unlink the header or footer. If free-typed information changes in one, I must be sure to change it in all. (Yes, I know about fields, but I work as part of a team, and fields are still a bit beyond them.)


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