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Freezing a Table

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Freezing a Table.

Word allows you to easily create tables, modify them, and place data in them. Word can even automatically adjust the dimensions of cells in your table to reflect the data that is in them. There may be times, however, when you want to "freeze" the size of cells in a table. For instance, you might want the cells to be a certain size, and never change—even when you place a large amount of data in the cell.

The first step is to adjust column width so that the columns in your table are the way you want them. Then, follow these steps if you are using Word 97:

  1. Select the cells you want to "freeze." (If you want to affect the entire table, select the entire table.)
  2. Choose the Cell Height and Width option from the Table menu. Word displays the Cell Height and Width dialog box.
  3. Change the height specification from Auto to Exactly. (This is the drop-down list near the upper-left corner of the dialog box.)
  4. In the At field, enter the height you want for your rows, in points. Remember that there are 72 points in an inch.
  5. Click on OK to close the Cell Height and Width dialog box.

If you are using Word 2000 or later, the process is slightly different:

  1. Right-click the table and choose Table Properties from the Context menu. Word displays the Table Properties dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Row tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Row tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

  4. Select the Specify Height check box, and then enter a height for the rows.
  5. Use the Row Height Is drop-down list to choose Exactly.
  6. Display the Table tab. (See Figure 2.)
  7. Figure 2. The Table tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

  8. Click on the Options button. Word displays the Table Options dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  9. Figure 3. The Table Options dialog box.

  10. Make sure the Automatically Resize to Fit Contents check box is cleared.
  11. Click on OK to close the Table Options dialog box.
  12. Click on OK to close the Table Properties dialog box.

These last steps (5 through 9) are particularly important. If you don't clear the Automatically Resize to Fit Contents check box, Word can and will readjust the column width to display the most data possible in the table.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1605) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Freezing a Table.

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Comments for this tip:

cmm912    07 Sep 2016, 14:02
You addressed ROW size ONLY, my need is the COLUMN WIDTH! I put in the EXACT width I want the column to be, save it, and then as I type, the column width expands as though I did nothing! I have the "auto resize" box UNCHECKED. Does ANYONE have a solution???
Laura Sherry    18 Mar 2016, 10:06

I have followed all the steps to freeze a table but it still does not work?
I can still keep typing and it disappears below the cell.
Jaeson Dubrovay    26 Oct 2015, 19:56
Thank you for your comments...very useful.
Hamza    21 Oct 2015, 22:34
Thank you so much. it really was very helpful, & was very easy.
Sebalol (Denmark)    09 Jul 2015, 09:22
Worked and was easy to follow the step by step guide.
Thank you very much.

Lenny C.    05 Mar 2015, 14:02
I am trying to lock/freeze table cell to limit the amount of information in the cell. In other words, I don't want to type past the cell size provided. Is this possible? Can this be done with a text box. Just to be clear, I am not looking to just freeze the cell size but to actually limit what can be entered in the cell all together. Please help...... we have tried everything..
Olga Sokolova    12 Jan 2015, 18:56
I found my problem. I left default size type in the dropdown box to "At least". This was wrong. I did not set Row height to "Exact". As soon as I set to "Exact" then this took care of my problem.
Olga Sokolova    12 Jan 2015, 18:37
I have done all the steps, but cells are still changing the size if I insert more data. How to fix it? I suspect there is a bug in the software. Please help.
Rachel    07 Dec 2014, 15:43
Thanks for this. At last I get my question answered succinctly and clearly without having to trawl through reams of other stuff that I don't need to know.
KNeal    10 Nov 2014, 10:11
I have done all those things stated above and yet when I insert, or update a chart I may have copied into the cell, it changes all the cell widths. All 9 pages. Very frustrating.
Kathy    08 Jul 2014, 12:36
Thank you so much!
Jim Whitbeck    03 Dec 2011, 22:18
It did exactly what I needed done!

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