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: Pulling Tables Back Into View.

Pulling Tables Back Into View

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 27, 2017)

When you first add a table to your document, Word determines column width by dividing the space available between margins by the number of columns in the table. If you later add a column to the table, the inserted column will push the right edge of the table past the right margin. This may make it difficult to "grab" and resize the right-most column.

There are several ways to deal with this type of situation. For instance, you could change to landscape orientation, adjust the column widths, and then switch back to portrait orientation. Another thing to try is to switch to Normal (or Draft) view, as opposed to Page Layout (or Print Layout) view. This allows you to see the columns that extend past the right margin and make any adjustments.

If you want to adjust all the columns so everything fits as well as possible, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click anywhere within the table. Word displays a Context menu.
  2. Click on AutoFit. Word displays a submenu.
  3. Within the submenu, choose AutoFit to Contents.

The result is that Word adjusts your table so as much of each column is as visible as possible, within the limits of the page margins and according to how much information is in each column. This can sound confusing, and the effects are best understood by trying out the feature with different types of information in your table. If the table is empty, each column is made as narrow as possible, and you end up with a "scrunched" table. If there is information in the table, then each column is made as wide as possible to display all the information in that column. If the table is still too wide, Word narrows the widest columns, thereby wrapping the contents of those columns, until it can fit everything.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6054) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Pulling Tables Back Into View.

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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