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: Finding an Optimal Table Height.

Finding an Optimal Table Height

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 10, 2016)

When you create a table in Word, you can adjust the settings on the table so that the height of your rows will adjust according to what you place in each row. Place a lot of information in a cell in the row, and the row height will adjust to display all the information. Place a little bit of information in a cell in the row, and the row height is adjusted to be "shorter."

What Word doesn't do in all this adjustment is to automatically adjust the column widths to allow for the information in the cells. When you first insert a table, the columns are each the same width, based on the available horizontal space between the left and right margin. If, for example, you put in a five-column table and the space between margins is 6.5 inches, then each column will end up being 1.3 inches wide. As you put information into the cells, Word may adjust the row height to accommodate what you enter, but it won't adjust the column width to accommodate that information.

What this means is that you may end up with an overall table height that is not "optimal," and could well be more than what you really need. For instance, if your columns are 1.3 inches wide each and one column consists of just the words "Yes" or "No," then the column width is more than what is needed. If a neighboring column has lots of text in it, you might be able to reduce the overall height of your table if Word were to reduce the width of the one column and give that saved width to the neighboring column that needs it.

As already mentioned, Word doesn't include the ability for the program to automatically adjust column widths based upon what you enter, as it does for row heights. One thing you might try, though, is to use Word's AutoFit option. All you need to do is right-click the table and then choose AutoFit | AutoFit to Contents from the resulting Context menu. Word does its best to adjust the column widths to reflect the information that is in the table. You may still need to make some manual adjustments to column width to get exactly the table format you want.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9766) 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: Finding an Optimal Table Height.

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

Finding Word 2007 Equivalents

The user interface in Word 2007 is dramatically different than in previous versions of Word. This means that it can be ...

Discover More

Inserting Special Spaces

Do you need to frequently add en spaces and em spaces to your documents? You can add special tools to Word that make ...

Discover More

Selecting Fonts for a Chart

When formatting a chart, you might want to change the characteristics of the font used in various chart elements. This can be ...

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)

Quickly Removing Table Borders

Insert a table in your document and Word assumes that you want borders around the table and its cells. Here's a shortcut that ...

Discover More

Keeping Table Rows Together

When you create a table that extends beyond a single page, you may want to make sure that the information in a table row ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of Background Color in All Tables

When working with tables (particularly those created by others), you can spend a large amount of time getting the formatting ...

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 9 - 2?

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.