Let’s take a look. To illustrate how Shrink to fit works, let’s look at a typical layout problem. Here we have a basic feature table that needs some clean up. Let’s start by applying a horizontal and vertical alignment of center for all cells. We don’t have a lot of long text in this table, so center alignment will work well. Now let’s increase the row height to get some more white space into the layout. Things look pretty good, but notice that text in certain cells is being clipped because it’s too long to fit. One solution is to apply Shrink to fit to those cells. Go to the Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box. Shrink to fit is directly below Wrap text. Enabling Shrink to fit will automatically reduce the font size in a cell so that the text fits without wrapping. We can see that the font in several cells is now smaller. And if we add more text to a cell, the text will automatically shrink as needed. However, Shrink to fit can quickly reduce long text to an unreadably small size. For this reason, Shrink to fit is most useful in tightly constrained layouts, where wrapping text is not an option. If you have the vertical space, a better option is Wrap text. Text wrapping is not compatible with Shrink to fit. If you enable wrapping, Shrink to fit will be disabled. In that case, you’ll still see Shrink to fit checked in the Format Cells dialog box, but it will appear grayed out. To disable Shrink to fit, you’ll need to temporarily uncheck Wrap text, then uncheck Shrink to fit. Then re-enable Wrap text.

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.