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: AutoFitting Tables.

AutoFitting Tables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 22, 2020)

Word makes it very easy to add tables to your documents. Once added, you may need to adjust the width of the columns in your table to fit your needs. There are a myriad of ways you can do this, as has been covered in other issues of WordTips. One of the quickest ways you can adjust the width of columns is to use the AutoFit feature of Word. This feature is particularly useful if you have a small amount of information in each cell of your table. To use the feature, follow these steps:

  1. Select the entire table.
  2. Choose AutoFit from the Table menu. Word displays a submenu.
  3. Choose AutoFit to Contents from the Submenu.

The above steps won't work if you are still using Word 97. In that case you'll need to follow these steps, instead:

  1. Select the entire table.
  2. Choose Cell Height and Width from the Table menu. Word displays the Cell Height and Width dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Column tab is selected.
  4. Click on AutoFit.

The effect on your table depends on whether it contains information or not. If the table is empty, the columns are evenly resized so they fit within the page margins. If there is information in any of the columns, the column width is set so that information fits on a line (if possible).

If your table contains information, you can use the mouse to quickly do an AutoFit. You do that by simply double-clicking the mouse on the left border of the table. The column widths adjust automatically, the same as if you went through the steps detailed above.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (82) 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: AutoFitting Tables.

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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