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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Enlarging Screen Font Size

Sometimes things appearing on the screen are a bit too small to read easily. One possible solution is to adjust the size ...

Discover More

Character Limits for Cells

Excel places limits on how much information you can enter into a cell and how much of that information it will display. ...

Discover More

Jumping to the End of a Word

Using shortcut keys to navigate through your document is really handy. One navigation shortcut that Word doesn't provide ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Merging Table Cells

Want to create cells that span multiple columns or multiple rows? You do this in Word by merging cells together. Here's ...

Discover More

Spacing Table Rows Vertically

Want to get just the right amount of spacing above and below text in a table cell? A very easy way to do this is to ...

Discover More

Copying Rows and Columns with the Mouse

Word allows you to do quite a few editing tasks using the mouse. If you want to copy rows or columns in a table, you can ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven minus 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.