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: Fitting Text Into Cells.

Fitting Text Into Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 26, 2018)

You have worked long and hard on your page design, including a couple of tables that are just right. Then, along comes a need to add a bit more text into one of the tables. The result is that the text in a cell wraps and pushes everything else down a bit. Now your whole design is thrown off! You long for a way to automatically adjust the size of the text in a cell so you won't have the wrapping and pushing occur.

If you are using Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003 there is a built-in option that may do the trick. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or cells that you want to format.
  2. Choose Table Properties from the Table menu. The Table Properties dialog box is displayed.
  3. If necessary, select the Cell tab. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Cell tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

  5. Click on the Options button. Word displays the Cell Options dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Cell Options dialog box.

  7. Make sure the Fit Text check box is selected.
  8. Click on OK to close the Cell Options dialog box.
  9. Click on OK to close the Table Properties dialog box.

What Word does is to decrease the apparent size of the text so that everything fits. Word decreases the width of the text by "scrunching" (a highly technical term) the text together horizontally, without adjusting it vertically.

If you are using Word 97, there is no inherent way to accomplish the task. Word doesn't provide any properties you can check to determine the width of various characters, each of which could be different sizes and have other attributes. You can, however, create a macro that may help you by displaying the width of a text string in points or inches. For instance, the following VBA macro displays an input box so you can input your string, displays the Font dialog box so you can specify font and point size, and then displays the width of the resulting string.

Sub GetStringLength()
    Dim sngInitPos As Single
    Dim sngEndPos As Single
    Dim strText As String
    Dim sngLength As Single

    strText = InputBox("Enter the string whose length you want to determine")
    Documents.Add
    Dialogs(wdDialogFormatFont).Show

    sngInitPos = Selection.Information(wdHorizontalPositionRelativeToPage)
    Selection.InsertAfter strText
    Selection.EndOf
    sngEndPos = Selection.Information(wdHorizontalPositionRelativeToPage)
    sngLength = sngEndPos — sngInitPos

    MsgBox "Your string has a length of " & sngLength & _
        " points, or " & PointsToInches(sngLength) & " inches."
    ActiveDocument.Close savechanges:=False
End Sub

The only difficulty with this macro, of course, is that it isn't "automatic." For instance, it won't adjust the size of a text string to the maximum size possible to fit within a cell. In the long run it may be easier to just experiment with different font sizes for information in the cell until you find the right size for your needs.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3780) 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: Fitting Text Into Cells.

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

Understanding R1C1 References

Referring to cells is typically done using a letter and a number, which represent the column and row. That's not the only ...

Discover More

An Average that Excludes Zero Values

Excel allows you to use functions and formulas to analyze your data. One way you can analyze your data is to use the ...

Discover More

Adding Footnotes to Endnotes

Word does footnotes. Word does endnotes. Word doesn't do footnotes within endnotes. Here's a discussion as to why and ...

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)

Selecting a Table

There are several different ways you can select an entire table in Word. The various methods and shortcuts are described ...

Discover More

Selecting Individual Cells in a Table

Many times before applying formatting or doing another operation, you need to select an individual cell in a table. ...

Discover More

Viewing Formulas in Table Cells

Word allows you to insert simple formulas, using fields, in table cells. If you want to see these formulas in their ...

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}] 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 5 + 3?

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.