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 September 4, 2015)

1

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

Button for Leaving Full-Screen Mode

If you display your document in full-screen mode, there are a couple of ways you can get back to normal mode. One method ...

Discover More

Automatically Updating Fields and Links

You can update fields and links automatically when you print your document, but what if you want them updated when you open ...

Discover More

Determining the Template Attached to a Document

If you've opened a document in Word, that document has a template attached to it. This tip looks at what those templates do ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Adjusting Column Widths on Joined Tables

Each table in a document can have different numbers of columns and different widths for columns. If you want to join two ...

Discover More

Putting Tables within Margins

When you first insert a table in your document, it extends from margin to margin. Later, after a bunch of editing and ...

Discover More

Distributing Columns Evenly

When you want the horizontal space in a table to be divided evenly among the columns in the table, you'll love this tip. How ...

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 for this tip:

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}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. 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 three minus 1?

2016-11-19 15:21:27

Phillip

In word 2013 one should highlight the table.Look on top for table tools on top and select layout and then auto for should be found below view pane


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.

Links and Sharing