Resizing Very Large Tables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 25, 2019)

3

Sometimes when Len copies and pastes a table from one document to another the table exceeds the width of the page, sometimes by a very large amount. He wonders if there is a good, easy way to resize the large table so that it fits within the margins of the document into which he pasted it.

There are a couple of approaches you can use to get your table back in control. The first (and perhaps easiest) is to simply click anywhere within any visible portion of the table. Word should display two new ribbon tabs: Design and Layout. Click on the Layout tab, click the AutoFit tool, and then choose AutoFit Window. Word makes sure that the table fits within the margins of the page.

Another way to accomplish the same task is to click the small square that appears at the upper-left corner of the table. (This small square has a four-headed arrow within it, and clicking it once selects the entire table.) Right-click within the table to display a Context menu. Choose AutoFit and then AutoFit Window.

Finally, another option is to right-click within the table to display a Context menu. Choose Table Properties and Word displays the Table Properties dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Table tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

On the Table tab of the dialog box, set the Preferred width to 100%. When you click OK, the table is snapped back into the page margins.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12585) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

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

Extracting Targeted Records from a List

When working with large amounts of data, you may have a need to extract just the information that meets the criteria you ...

Discover More

Intelligent Title Case

A common editorial need is to change the capitalization used on different words in a selection of text. Word provides a ...

Discover More

Setting Default Attributes for Lines and Arrows

Don't like the way that Excel formats lines and arrows? You can easily make your own formatting changes, and then use ...

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)

Changing Spacing Between Table Cells

Need to adjust the space between individual cells in a table? Word gives you a good deal of control over this spacing, as ...

Discover More

Entering Tabs in a Table

When press the Tab key while entering info into a table, Word dutifully moves to the next table cell. If you don't want ...

Discover More

Table Borders Won't Print

Print a table and you may be surprised if it has no borders. That could be because you actually have the borders turned ...

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. 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 less than 8?

2019-05-29 13:23:42

David Cohen

a first step to deal with a large table is to consider font size, possibly dropping it. also, serif font conserves space compare to sans-serif.

if the text becomes too small for easy readability, adding points after a paragraph is a good way to provide visual access without adding to width, which is generally the problem (not length, as tables can extend through page breaks). and further re width, consider going to landscape orientation if the table is initially set up as portrait.

another approach is to have no column width preference, thus each column can be individually narrowed to an appropriate size.


2019-05-25 18:17:37

MW

Ken: Nice addition and clarification


2019-05-25 06:14:33

Ken Endacott

When a table is created using the Insert table command the result is a table slightly wider than the distance between page margins. The table is aligned so that the text in the top left cell aligns with the left margin of the page and therefore the table border projects into the left page margin by the amount of the cell’s left margin. You can exaggerate this effect by increasing the cell left margin of the table’s top left cell. On the other hand the right border of the table is aligned to the right page margin.

The same applies when AutoFit is used.

This is fine if in a borderless table you want the text in the first column to align with the page left margin. However if the table has borders then it can look out of place with the table extending into the page border.


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.