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Excel Guide

Adjusting Excel Column Width: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Tutorial

Excel Column width is quantified in characters, with one character equivalent to the width of a standard-sized letter "W." By default, the Excel column width is set to 8.43 characters. Altering column width allows you to create more or less space for the data within. This article provides a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to adjust column width in Excel.

1. Selecting Columns for Width Adjustment

Begin by selecting the column or columns you wish to modify. This can be done by clicking on the column header, represented by the letter at the top of the column.

  • To select multiple columns, hold down the "Shift" key and click on the other column headers.
  • Alternatively, hold down the "Ctrl" key and click on individual column headers for non-adjacent selections.

2. Modifying Column Width

Once columns are selected, you can adjust the width using the following methods:

  • Specify a value by navigating to the "Home" tab, clicking on "Format," hovering over "Column Width," and entering the desired width in the text box.
  • Alternatively, right-click on the column header, choose "Column Width," and input the desired width in the "Column width" text box.
  • To set the width as a percentage of the default, use the same steps but select the percentage option.

3. Autofitting Column Width

For Excel to automatically adjust the column width to accommodate the widest entry, follow these steps:

  • Go to the "Home" tab, click on "Format," hover over "Column Width," and select "Autofit Column Width."


  • Right-click on the column header, choose "Column Width," and click on the "Autofit Column Width" button in the "Column Width" dialogue box.

4. Hiding and Unhiding Columns

  • To hide a column, click on the "Home" tab, select "Format," hover over "Column Width," and choose "Hide Column."
  • To unhide a column, follow the same steps but select "Unhide Column."

Alternatively, right-click on the column header and use the "Hide Column" or "Unhide Column" options.

5. Best Practices for Column Width Adjustment

When adjusting column width, adhere to these best practices:

  • Avoid making columns excessively narrow or wide for better readability.
  • Resize columns equally to maintain a clean and organized spreadsheet.
  • Consider using the autofit feature when unsure about the appropriate width.