The Width of Columns

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The Width of Columns

Introduction

To display the information under it, a column uses a measure from its left border to its right border. This measure is referred to as its width. By default, when Microsoft Excel comes up, all columns use the same width. You are allowed to change the width of one column or a group of columns.

There are various techniques you can use to change the width of a column. You can manually resize a column or a group of columns, or you can use a dialog box to exercise more control.

Manually Resizing the Columns

To manually resize a column, position the mouse on the short line that separates a column header from its right neighbor. Here is an example:

Mouse Cursor

Click, then drag left or right until the small box displays the width you desire, then release the mouse.

You can also resize a group of columns. First, select the columns you want to work on. Then position the mouse on the column header border of one of the selected columns. Click and drag left or right in the direction of your choice until you get the desired with. Then release the mouse.

To undo this action:

  • On the Quick Access toolbar, click the Undo button Undo
  • Press Ctrl + Z

Practical Learning: Controlling the Widths of Columns

  1. Position the mouse between columns H and I until the mouse turns into a short line with double horizontal arrows Mouse Cursor
  2. Then double-click. That resizes column H
  3. Position the mouse on the separator of column headers B and C, then click and drag in the right direction until the small box displays Width: 10.00
     
    Column Width
  4. Release the mouse
  5. In the same way, position the mouse on the separator of column headers C and D, then click and drag in the right direction until the small box displays Width: 10.00
  6. Press Ctrl + Home
  7. To save the document, press Ctrl + S

Automatically Resizing the Columns

If one of the boxes under a column header displays the width you want, you can resize the column to the content of that box. To do this, click the box that has the desired width. Then:

  • Double-click the short line that separates the column header from the column on its right (if you are on the most right column, that will be the line that serves as the column's right border)
  • On the Ribbon, click Home. In the Cells section, click Format and click AutoFit Column Width

AutoFit Column Width

In the same way, to set the widths of columns based on some boxes under their columns headers, select those boxes (in Lesson 4, we will learn how to select the boxes). Then:

  • Double-click the short line on one side of the column headers
  • On the Ribbon, click Home. In the Cells section, click Format and click AutoFit Column Width

To undo any of these actions:

  • On the Quick Access toolbar, click the Undo button Undo
  • Press Ctrl + Z

Practical Learning: Automatically Resizing the Columns

  1. Randomly select Columns D, F, G, and I
     
  2. On the Ribbon, click Home if necessary.
    In the Cells section, click the Format button, and click AutoFit Column Width
  3. Press Ctrl + Home
     
  4. Save the document

Setting the Width Value of Columns

You can use a dialog box to set exactly the desired width of a column or a group of columns. To specify the width of a column:

  • Right-click the column header and click Column Width...
  • Click a column header or any box under it. Then, on the Ribbon, click Home. In the Cells section, click Format and click Column Width...

To specify the same width for many columns:

  • Select a range of columns. Right-click one of the columns (right-click either one of the column headers or inside the selection) and click Column Width...
  • Randomly select a group of (non-adjacent) columns. Right-click one of the column headers and click Column Width...
  • Select the columns, whether in a range or randomly (non-adjacent). On the Ribbon, click Home. In the Cells section, click Format and click Column Width...

Any of these actions would open the Column Width dialog box. From there, accept or enter the desired value and click OK

To undo any of these actions:

  • On the Quick Access toolbar, click the Undo button Undo
  • Press Ctrl + Z

Practical Learning: Setting the Width of Columns

  1. Right-click Column Header J and click Column Width...
  2. Type 6.50 and press Enter
  3. Press Ctrl + Home