Change Column Widths and Row Heights in Excel and Google Spreadsheets

Microsoft Excel
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There are multiple ways of widening columns in Excel and Google Spreadsheets:

  • Change individual column widths or row heights using the mouse
  • Change column widths or row heights using the ribbon options (Excel only)
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Change column widths and row heights with the mouse

Change Column Widths Using the Mouse
© Ted French

Note: It is not possible to change the width or height of a single cell - the width must be changed for the entire column or the height for an entire row.

Change individual column widths with the mouse

The steps below cover how to change individual columns widths using the mouse. To widen column A for example:

  1. Place the mouse pointer on the boundary line between columns A and B in the column header
  2. The pointer will change to a double-headed black arrow as shown in the image above
  3. Click and hold down the left mouse button and drag the double-headed arrow to the right to widen column A  or to the left to make the column narrower
  4. Release the mouse button when the desired width is reached

Autofit column widths using the mouse

Another way to narrow or widen columns with the mouse is to let Excel or Google Spreadsheets auto fit the width of the column to the longest item of data contained in the column.

For long data, the column will widen, but if the column contains only short items of data, the column will narrow to fit these items.

Example: Change the width of column B using AutoFit

  1. Place the mouse pointer on the boundary line between columns B and C in the column header. The pointer will change to a double-headed arrow.

  2. Double click with the left mouse button. The column will automatically adjust its width to match the longest entry in that column

Change all column widths in a worksheet using the mouse

To adjust all of the column widths

  1. Click on Select All  above the row header to highlight all columns in the current worksheet.
  2. Place the mouse pointer on the boundary line between columns A and B in the column header
  3. The pointer will change to a double-headed arrow.
  4. Click the left mouse button and drag the double-headed arrow to the right to widen all columns in the worksheet or to the left to make all columns narrower.

Change row heights with the mouse

The options and steps to changing row heights in Excel and Google Spreadsheets with the mouse are the same as for changing column widths, except that you place the mouse pointer on the boundary line between two rows in the row header instead of the column header.

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Change column widths using ribbon options in Excel

Changing Column Widths Using the Ribbon Options
© Ted French

Change column widths using the ribbon options

  1. Click on a cell in the column you want to change - to widen multiple columns highlight  a cell in each column
  2. Click on the Home tab of the ribbon
  3. Click on the Format icon to open the drop-down menu of options
  4. To AutoFit the column(s), choose that option in the Cell Size section of the menu
  5. To input a specific size in character widths, click on the Column Width option in the menu to bring up the Column Width dialog box
  6. In the dialog box enter the desired width in character (default width:  8.11 characters)
  7. Click OK to change the column widths and close the dialog box

Change all column widths in a worksheet using the menus

  1. Click on Select All at the top of the row header to highlight all columns in the current worksheet.
  2. Repeat steps 5 to 7 above to enter a specific size for all columns

Change row heights using the ribbon options

The options and steps to changing row heights in Excel using options in the ribbon are the same as for changing column widths.