How To Reduce The Column Width In Excel

It’s often necessary to know how to reduce the column size in Excel, allowing you to see more data on the screen at once. As with many things in Excel, there are two methods to achieve the same goal. So, lets take a look at both methods:

Double Click Method: We’ll call the first method the “Double Click Method.” This method will resize the field for you, making it the same size as the largest field in the column. This means if you have one field that is much bigger than the rest, the column will expand to fit that field. But if all entries in the field are, say, four characters, it’ll reduce the size of the column to four characters. If you want more control (perhaps you have one large field in the column, but you want to make the column smaller), skip to the “Manual Method.” 

  1. Once you’re in Excel, if there isn’t already data in the fields, add some data (doesn’t matter what) in at least two columns. This will allow you to see how this method works. Don’t worry, no data will be lost, but go ahead and save your work anyway.
  2. Now, go to the very top of the spreadsheet. Above your data and below the menu icons, you should see some lettered column headings. 
  3. In between the lettered headings, you should see a line dividing the columns. For example, there is a line between A and B and another between C and D.
  4. Carefully position your mouse over the line to the right of the column you want to resize. You should see the cursor change into something that looks like a line with perpendicular arrows pointing outward.
  5. Now, double click your left mouse button. The entire column will be resized to accommodate the largest field in the column. 

Manual Method: We’ll call this method to reduce the column size in Excel, the “Manual Method.” This method allows you to manually choose the size of your column.

  1. This method does not require any Excel data to see how it works, but if you have some in there, that’s good too. Don’t worry, no data will be lost, but go ahead and save your work anyway.   
  2. Once you’re in Excel, go to the top of the spreadsheet. You should find a row of lettered column headings between your data and the menu icons.
  3. There are lines separating each of the column headings (for example, there is a line between A and B and another one between B and C).
  4. Position your mouse cursor over the line to the right of the field for which you’re trying to reduce the column size. The cursor should change to look like a line with perpendicular arrows pointing outward. 
  5. Now, click and hold the left mouse button and drag the line to the left to reduce the size of the column. Moving this line changes the column size immediately so if you look down below, you should be able to see how the new column size looks with your data. 
  6. Once you have reduced the size of the column to the size you like, release the mouse button.

That’s all there is to reducing the column size in Excel. Once you have attained the column sizes you want, save your spreadsheet.  Now, it will save your column size preferences even if you close the document and reopen it. 

 

 

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