ALL ABOUT OFFICE

EXCEL

HOME

ACCESS

EXCEL

WORD

OUTLOOK

POWERPOINT

Changing Column Width and Row Height

It is important to ensure that all of your data is clearly visible in your spreadsheet and you will probably need to adjust the widths of your columns to achieve this and maybe also the height of your rows.  You can place your mouse over the boundary between two columns at the top of the spreadsheet (e.g. between the A and B of columns A and B) until a double-headed arrow appears and then drag the column to its new width.  The easiest way to adjust column width is to highlight all the columns you want to format by clicking on the column letters at the top of the columns.  Now click on the Format drop-down menu and choose Column and then AutoFit  Selection.  This will automatically size your columns to fit to the contents in the best way.  You can also AutoFit a single column by double-clicking the column dividing line to the right of the column letter at the top of the spreadsheet.  You can size rows in a similar ways by using the row dividing lines between the row numbers or clicking on the Format drop-down menu after selecting a row and choosing Row and Height or AutoFit.

If you want to set your column width to a specific number of characters you can highlight the column or columns by dragging your mouse over the column headings and then click your right mouse button over the highlighted area and choose Column Width.  For the example shown below it would be a good idea to set the width of column A to 7 characters as we should not need more than that with the month format being used.

When you select Column Width a small box appears where you can enter how many characters wide you want the column to be as shown below:

A similar Row Height facility is available if you click your right mouse button over a selected row, this time the number you enter will be a point size and the row will be set to the corresponding height of that number of points in the font used as the Normal style for the workbook.

You can experience a problem with column widths or row heights if you later change the font size in your worksheet.  If we now change our worksheet font to Arial size 12 the column is not wide enough to hold some entries and we see ### displayed instead as below .

The reason for this is that when you set a column width in characters or a row height in points, Excel does not use the current column?s font to calculate the width but instead uses the Normal style for the whole workbook.  You can resolve column width problems by changing the font for the Normal style to the font you are using in the column that is not wide enough or the row that is not high enough.  To do this, click on the Format drop-down menu and choose Style.  The Normal style should be shown at the top as shown below.

You can see from this window that the Normal style for the workbook is based on an Arial size 10 font whereas our column is Arial size 12.  Click on the Modify button and you will see the Format Cells window shown below .  If you are not in the Font section when the Format Cells window displays, simply click on the Font tab at the top of the window.

Change the font to the same typeface and size as the one in the column or row you are formatting and click OK to be returned to the Style window.  Click OK again and the style will be updated, you should now be able to see your column?s contents fitted correctly.

Click here to return to the Excel index.

webmaster@allaboutoffice.co.uk