Excel provides a neat way to autofit the width of a column using either a mouse double-click or using the built in menus. In this post I will show you how to use the mouse to automatically resize the width of a column so that the contents of the column can be seen in full…
What happens when your Excel Cell Content is too Wide to Fit in the Column?
Here is the scenario. You have a table of contacts that lists names, e-mails and birthdays. You have either imported this list from your e-mail program or perhaps just typed the list into Excel. But as it stands there are two problems:
The list of contacts in the screenshot above has two problems
(1) we can't read all the text, (2) we can't see any of the dates
You could try to resize the columns one at a time by clicking and dragging on the column borders between column headers for all 6 columns, but there is an alternative way.
Let me introduce you to a mouse double-click trick that can save you some time. If you want to download the sample .xlsx file with the same final contacts list so you can follow along as you read the post, click on the download icon or click here. The file is very small (12 kb) and also zipped so when you download it you will need to unzip it first.
Demo of mouse double click trick on one selected column
You can either repeat this process for each of columns C, D, E, F and G, or you can select all of columns C to G and use the double click trick on any of the columns in your selection.
Demo of mouse double click trick on multiple selected columns
If you have followed along, you might wonder why I didn’t double click on column B. What happens if you do? The column width gets adjusted to the longest value, which is in row 3. This looks bad as there is too much empty space in column B.
Using autofit in the first column has created too much blank space next to each
Now let’s go back to the built in menus and use the autofit column width feature. The key to using this feature is to first select the cells you want to autofit. Here we don’t want Excel to resize column B to fit the text in row 2 and row 3, because we only want the column to be just wide enough for the first names in our contact list.
Using the autofit feature in Excel 2010 (Home > Cells > Format > Autofit
Read More: Resize & autofit column widths in Excel
Click on one of the following post links to read more on this topic.
Victor expertly teaches Microsoft Excel to people all over the world. He has millions of views of his popular Excel explainer videos on YouTube. These show time-saving shortcuts and real-world applications explained with easy-to-follow visuals.
Victor has over 20 years of experience using Excel as a professional for Big 4 Audit Firm Deloitte and two global tech companies. He knows firsthand that being more productive with Excel can lead to greater job satisfaction and career growth.
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