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.

Freezing a Table

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 5, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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.

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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