Tiplet: Equalize column widths in Excel

September 8, 2011 at 10:16 am

A client recently asked if there is a command in the newer versions of Excel — similar to Word’s “Distribute Columns” command — that makes it easy to equalize the width of adjacent columns.  (To use this feature in Word, select the columns in question[1], then navigate to the Layout portion of the Table Tools tab and click the “Distribute Columns” button.)

So far, I haven’t found any command in Excel 2007 or Excel 2010 that functions exactly the same way as “Distribute Columns.”  However, there’s a fairly easy way to get the same result.  Just select the columns — note that, in fact, this procedure works even if the columns aren’t adjacent — and click and drag the margin of any one column in order to widen it as you wish.  Release the mouse button, and all columns will adjust to be the same size.

There’s an alternate method:  With the columns selected, click the Format drop-down in the Cells group on the Home tab, then click Column Width and type a number, such as 10 or 12.  (The number corresponds roughly to the number of characters in the cell, assuming you are using the default font face and size.[2])  Or, with the columns selected, right-click a column heading, click Column Width, and type a number.[3]

Although I haven’t seen these methods documented, they appear to work well.

For a more extensive discussion about how to set column width and row height in Excel, see this Microsoft Knowledge Base article. It deals specifically with Excel 2007, but the information applies to Excel 2010 as well.


[1]   Note that you must select all of the rows, not merely the first row.

[2]   Microsoft offers a rather complex explanation for the way “Column Width” is determined in Excel in this somewhat dated Knowledge Base article.

[3]  A caution:  Right-clicking within a column won’t produce the Column Width option.  To produce a shortcut menu with that option, you must position the mouse pointer within the column heading itself before right-clicking.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: .

Setting the default zoom in Word “Easter eggs” in Google’s Thanksgiving logo

© Jan Berinstein 2009-present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of one or more articles posted on this blog -- i.e., without express written permission from the blog’s author -- is strictly prohibited. You may use brief excerpts and/or links, provided that you give full, accurate, and prominent credit to Jan Berinstein, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Inspired By My Trainees

Some trainers teach at the speed of light. I prefer to teach at the speed of enlightenment.

Buy my Word 2010 book or my Word 2007 book

To buy my book, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2010, or see a preview, click the gray "Buy Now - Lulu" button.
independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.
To buy the book on Amazon.com, click this link . There is no preview on Amazon.

To buy my first book, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007, or see a preview, click the blue "Buy Now - Lulu" button.

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

To buy the book on Amazon.com, click this link. There is no preview on Amazon.

One good tip deserves another

Have you learned something useful from these tips? If so, please express your appreciation (and help keep the blog going) by contributing $5.00, $10.00, or more. It's easy!

Many thanks for your support!

NOTE: Your donation is not tax-deductible (but it does support a worthy cause!).


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 41 other followers

%d bloggers like this: