You’ve probably noticed that columns in Excel do not expand to accommodate the data they contain. When the data in a cell is too wide to fit the column, it just overlaps the next column, or, it’s clipped, when the column to the right contains data. You can fix this problem by setting the column width. Let’s take a look. All columns in Excel have a set width. To check the current width of a column, just click on the column divider to the right. You’ll see the width displayed in characters. You can set the width of a column by dragging the column divider to make the column wider or narrower. It’s also possible to set the column width numerically. With at least one cell selected in the column, click the Format button on the ribbon, choose Column Width from the menu, and type in a new width. You can get to the same column width dialog box by selecting a column and right-clicking. Then, choose Column Width from the menu. You can use these same techniques to set the column width for more than one column at a time. Excel can also autofit columns so that they expand or shrink to fit the largest value. To use Autofit, just double-click the column divider to the right of the column you’d like to resize. You can autofit columns by using the ribbon as well. Click the Format button and select Autofit Column Width from the menu. Finally, you can autofit multiple columns at the same time using these same methods. First, select the columns you’d like to autofit. Then, apply Autofit using the the Format button on the ribbon, or, by double-clicking a column divider in your selection.

Dave Bruns

Hi - I’m Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.