How to change the size of Excel columns or rows quickly - Image by Peter H from PixabayIn my last tip, I showed you how to change the width and the height of columns and rows using the menu and tools on the Home tab ribbon. Today I will show you how to do this very quickly and only those you require, leaving the rest at the default setting. This will entail using the mouse rather than the keyboard.

Here is an example of a spreadsheet. Example sheet

It is plain to see that the column widths are not appropriate for the data inside the cells. The columns are set to the default setting. In Column A there are town names that are too long to see the whole word and in column D the number has been changed to a scientific number so as to fit. This is not what we want.

How to change a column width with the mouse

Move your mouse cursor to the vertical line between the two columns on the name of the column line. Your mouse pointer will change from a white cross to a vertical black line with a small horizontal two-headed arrow. sizing pointer

Make sure that you are there at the top of the column to the right of the column you need to change. Not in the cell area but in the title of the column.

  • Once you have the image as depicted above, click hold and drag to the right to increase the column width and to the left to decrease the column width.

How to change to auto width

If you want the column to be the best fit for everything that is in that column. Double-click when you have the correct image of the mouse pointer as in the picture above. This will change the column to be as wide or as narrow as is needed for anything that is in that column.

To change more than one column at the same time

If you need more than one column to be the same size, select the first. Hold down the CTRL key and select the next. This does not have to be the next consecutive column.

They will look something like this. Several columns selected

  • Use either method as above. Drag to the width or double-click, when you have the mouse pointer as a vertical line with a two-way arrow horizontally, as in the picture above.

Using these features will result in a spreadsheet that looks like this. Result

What about rows?

The exact same method is used for rows. Just find the same pointer below the row you wish to change and either drag or double-click. sizing pointer for rows

Be careful when using this, there is a setting called word wrap that you might have set for a cell or column of cells that can make the row height larger than expected for the whole row.

One last thing

If you have many columns and rows that need to be changed and you are happy with the best fit for both, then select the whole sheet and double-click between two columns in the column name area to change all the columns and then double-click between two rows in the row name area to change all the rows.

Example sheet

Sheet before

Select the whole sheet with this tool.

Select whole sheet tool

Looks like this.

Entire sheet selected

Double click between any two columns and the result will look like this.Final result

Happy widening or narrowing of columns and rows.

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