Tip of the week # 468
1 December 2015

Change column width without changing the width of the table (Microsoft Word and Outlook) *

Word's Table feature provides a powerful way of displaying information in rows and columns, similar to that of an Excel spreadsheet. It also makes it much easier than using tab stops to align text. And you can even use it to quickly add the sum of numbers entered in your table. But what I often see is that people do not know how to adjust the column width without messing up the width of the table itself. So you probably are not surprised to hear that this tip is about how to prevent that from happening.

Here's how:

  1. Point to the right edge of the column you want to resize and wait until the mouse pointer appears as a double-headed arrow.
  2. Click and drag the column to your preferred width.

If you prefer to or still use the Move Table Column marker on Word's ruler, you must hold down the CTRL key while you drag the column. (If you hold down the ALT key you see the exact measurements of the columns on the ruler.)

Finally, just in case you are still in old habits, developed in previous versions of Microsoft Office . the quickest way to add a table is to click on the Table button on the Insert tab, move the cursor over the grid and click once you highlight the right numbers of rows and columns.

* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.