Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Quickly Accessing the Column Tab.

Quickly Accessing the Column Tab

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 15, 2014)


There are many ways you can adjust column width and other table settings. For precise adjustment of column width, you might want to access the Table Properties dialog box. You can do this quickly in the following manner:

  1. Position the insertion point in any cell of the table.
  2. Using the mouse, point to one of the "dotted boxes" on the ruler. These mark the boundaries of each column in the table. When you position the pointer over the box, the pointer changes to a double-headed arrow.
  3. Double-click the mouse, on the box marker. Word displays the desired dialog box.

There is also an alternative way to access the same dialog box, and you may find it easier to use. You can follow these steps:

  1. Position the mouse pointer right above a column whose width you want to change. The mouse pointer should change to a downward pointing arrow.
  2. Right-click the mouse. The table column is selected and a Context menu appears.
  3. Select Table Properties from the Context menu. The Table Properties dialog box appears, from which you can easily select the Column tab. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Table Properties dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13311) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Quickly Accessing the Column Tab.

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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What is 1 + 8?

2014-11-17 13:39:56

John Feiler

The easiest way I have found to vary the column width is by clicking on the "dotted" lines and pressing the ALT key. You can vary widths/heights by 1/100" increments.

2014-11-15 11:21:26

Mary Bohnsack

One more option:
1-Highlight the column you wish to modify
2-Place cursor over the margin you wish to move. It will become a cross.
3-Hold down left clicker and drag margin either direction.

2014-11-15 08:20:51


There's one more way (that is actually a legacy inherited from older Word versions): Press Alt, A, R (that's an equivalent for selecting Table - Properties in the menu). Though this is less intuitive, I find it handy when I don't want to move my hands away from keyboard to the mouse.

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