Join Dennis Taylor for an in-depth discussion in this video Adjusting row heights and column widths, part of Excel Essential Training (Office 365).
- You can easily adjust the width of columns and the height of rows and nearly always, you don't need to go into the menu system, but instead, use the actual boundaries between columns and between rows. On this worksheet, if you look at columns B, C, D, et cetera across the top, the column widths are probably not the same. Now, it's fairly subtle, and sometimes you care, sometimes you don't, but if we wanted to make a column wider, a standard method is not necessarily to go into the Home tab, and you can do that, ultimately. Off to the right, under Format, you'll see some choices there.
But why not just say, if we want column D to be narrower, we point to the boundary between columns D and E, the actual letters, click and drag a big leftward or rightward. This is quite a common technique. As we do this we do see the size, most of the time we probably don't care. It's 131 pixels, now it's 137. More likely is this idea. We probably would want these to all be the same, if the numbers that we're seeing here are in the same, more or less, frame. They're not above a thousand, they're all above a hundred.
So, if we want all these to be the same, we can highlight all the columns, dragging across the top, and simply double click one of the boundaries. And what's happening there is that this column, I'll simply hold down the mouse button on the border there, that's 99 pixels, and how about the one over here, that's 99 pixels. All these are, and sometimes that's the need. Column H seems to be a lot wider than it needs to be. If we adjust it only, what can we do? We'll double click the boundary between H and I. Double click, so called best fit. What's the fit of that? And again, most of the time we don't care, but just for comparison, that's 118.
So at any time, you wanna have that sense of freedom that says, "Well, if the column's "too wide, we can adjust it. "If it's too narrow we can make it wider." And so on. With numerical columns, if you manually make them too narrow, you'll see this effect. You'll see those hash tags there. Sometimes when you're zooming in and out, using that slider bar in the lower right hand corner, you might see this on other cells as well too. I'm not seeing any right here at the moment, but sometimes you will see them. And it's not any fault of yours. It's just an adjustment you'll need to make in Excel. For example, I could make some of these narrower there.
There we see it. But if I zoom now, using that slider bar in the lower right corner, we still might see some pounds signs, hash tags. There they are, and no real change to the data right now. As we change the zoom factor, we see them again. So we click and get over this idea, and I'll double click column G again. Maybe we'll leave it like that. Now what if we say this. We want each of these columns here, January through June, to be a little bit wider, but we want them all to be the same. Then we'll simply drag across just these columns, point to any border here, drag it to a certain width.
Once again, we're probably not counting pixels, but if we drag it right here and let go, they're all gonna be exactly the same width. Now, this cell, A1, could be merged. Eventually we might want to merge it. But we haven't done that just yet. You might not be familiar with that feature. So what if I'm saying, "Let's make all the columns "be a so-called best fit"? Maybe H is too wide. I is too wide. February is too narrow. Let's adjust them all at once. What do we do? Click in the upper left corner. I'll double click, that means best fit.
Look what happens. Because this is in column A, column A has been readjusted to handle that data. But if we merged this, and I'll do it right now, drag across this, and all those other cells out into column I. We can use this merge and center button. There it is. And now if we click in the upper left corner, readjust those column widths, see what happens. So we can easily make adjustments here. If I wanted to print this out for some analysts, and we wanted to have some space between the rows here, we could insert rows.
Or better yet, let's change the row height. So, I'm gonna drag across just these four rows here, and then point to one of the row boundaries. Maybe make these twice as tall, three times as tall, something like that. Let go, and we see that effect. And we could if we wanted to although major here we could highlight these, and one the home tab we could put these in the middle of the cell, from the top bottom. And after a while, if you wanna return this list to its more normal appearance, click in the upper left corner, then double click any row boundary. So for all the different methods we saw here for adjusting column widths and row heights, we relied on dragging columns or row boundaries, or double clicking on those boundaries instead of going through the menu system.
And these are techniques that you will use frequently as you work with Excel.
- Working with the Excel interface
- Entering data
- Creating formulas and functions
- Formatting your data
- Adjusting rows and columns
- Finding and replacing data
- Inserting and deleting sheets
- Sorting and filtering data
- Creating charts and PivotTables
- Printing and sharing worksheets
- Protecting worksheets and workbooks
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 1/7/2019. What changed?
A: A new video was added that covers working with Excel Ideas.