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: Fitting Text Into Cells.

Fitting Text Into Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 2, 2016)

8

You have worked long and hard on your page design, including a couple of tables that are just right. Then, along comes a need to add a bit more text into one of the tables. The result is that the text in a cell wraps and pushes everything else down a bit. Now your whole design is thrown off. You long for a way to automatically adjust the size of the text in a cell so you won't have the wrapping and pushing occur.

Word provides a built-in option that may do the trick. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or cells that you want to format.
  2. Make sure the Layout tab of the ribbon is displayed. (This tab is only visible if you first do step 1.)
  3. Click the Properties tool in the Table group. Word displays the Table Properties dialog box.
  4. Select the Cell tab. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Cell tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

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

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

What Word does is to decrease the apparent size of the text so that everything fits. Word decreases the width of the text by "scrunching" (a highly technical term) the text together horizontally, without adjusting it vertically.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6081) 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: Fitting Text Into Cells.

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

Forcing Editing to Be Done in a Cell

Excel allows you to edit your cell contents in two places. What if you want to limit where editing occurs, so it can only be ...

Discover More

Synchronous Scrolling with More than Two Windows

Synchronous scrolling of different windows can be very helpful with some worksheets. Excel allows you to synchronize the ...

Discover More

Sheets for Months

One common type of workbook used in offices is one that contains a single worksheet for each month of the year. If you need ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Headings On Your Printout

If you've got a table that spans multiple printed pages, you probably want to repeat a row or two of that table as a heading ...

Discover More

Space after a Table

Those familiar with styles are used to setting vertical spacing before or after paragraphs. You can get just the look you ...

Discover More

Last-Row Border Formatting

When the last row displayed on a page doesn't show the borders you want, it can be confusing to figure out how to get them to ...

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}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. 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 9 + 4?

2016-09-14 04:31:08

Michael

This doesn't work


2016-08-30 03:19:48

Roger

this tip does not work for Office 365 there is no auto fit text to cell option


2016-07-26 10:55:07

Elaine Doga

I would like the text to shrink but also wrap around in the cell rather than continuously keep shrinking. The fit text seems to over-ride the wrap option. Any ideas?


2016-06-11 05:59:58

Beth

I have used pdf forms and that function is available, also, but this one needs to be in Word. Just can't quite come up with the process to keep a properly formatted document once it is sent to users.


2016-06-10 06:46:18

Paul Franklin Stregevsky

In other words, Beth, you'd like a way to make the text "shrink to fit" the way it shrinks automatically in PowerPoint. Interesting idea.


2016-06-09 09:38:30

Beth

This is almost what I need, but not quite. I have a template with a question at the top of each section, and I want users to type their answers in the space below. The text should wrap as they type and keep normal formatted font/size if they stay within the box limits. If text runs too long, I want it to shrink the font size of everything they have written to stay within the box and not stretch the box.


2016-05-11 21:11:02

Pete A

It DOES reduce the size of text that is too long for a table cell It ALSO spreads out text that is "too short" for a table cell, giving something like this:

T o o S h o r t

Need to just scrunch the long ones to fit, but don't mess with the ones that DO fit.

Thanks for the good writeup


2016-04-02 07:41:21

pete

If set-width is so great... can I start the process over again... and create msg. with less characters?¿?


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.

Newest Tips
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.