Adjusting the column width when working with Google Sheets is something everyone needs to do.
Sometimes it’s too narrow and sometimes just too wide.
And while you have ways to adjust the column width manually, there is also a way to make sure all the columns auto-fit the cells in Google Sheets.
This will make sure there is no text spilling over to other cells and there is no extra white space in the column (other than what’s necessary).
In this tutorial, I will show you some ways to autofit column width in Google Sheets.
So let’s get started!
Autofit Column Width with Double Click
The easiest way to autofit the width of the columns in Google Sheets is to select all the columns for which you want to adjust the width and use a simple double click.
Suppose you have the dataset as shown below and you want to autofit column A (which has the company names).
Below are the steps to autofit a column:
- Select the column that you want to autofit
- Place the cursor at the right edge of the column title. You would notice that the cursor changes to a double-pointed arrow
The above steps would instantly auto-fit the column based on the text in the cells.
Note that auto-fit adjusts to accommodate the cell with the maximum text. So if you have a cell that has a lot of text, autofit may widen the column a lot.
In case you want to autofit column width for multiple columns at once, follow the below steps:
- Select the columns that you want to autofit (these could be contiguous or non-contiguous columns)
- Place the cursor at the right edge of any of the selected column titles. You would notice that the cursor changes to a double-pointed arrow
This would adjust the column width of all the selected columns at one go.
In case you want to do this for the entire sheets, you can select all the cells by clicking on the gray box at the top-left of the worksheet. Once selected, you can autofit columns by double-clicking for any of the columns.
Autofit Column Width with ‘Fit to Data’ Option
In case you’re don’t like the double-click method, there is another way to quickly auto-fit column width in Google Sheets.
Suppose have the dataset as shown below and you want to autofit column A.
Below are the steps to adjust and autofit column width in Google Sheets:
- Select the column (or columns) that you want to autofit
- Right-click on any of the selected columns.
- Click the Resize Columns option
- In the ‘Resize Column’ dialog box that opens, select the ‘Fit to Data’ option
- Click OK
The above steps would instantly change the column width to autofit the cell that has the maximum text in it. This way, no cells would have text that spills over to the next cell.
Note that in case you change the cells and add/remove more content and need to auto-fit again, you will have to repeat the same steps shown above.
AutoFit Vs Wrap Text
Autofit allows you to make sure the columns are wide enough to accommodate the cell with the longest string in it. This works great, but in some cases, you may have a few cells that have a long text string and because of this, all the cells have the large column width.
In such a case, it makes sense to wrap text so that the long string would be converted into multiple lines in the same cell (like a paragraph).
But when you use Wrap Text, you may notice that auto-fit doesn’t work as expected.
Here is what happens.
When you wrap text, the cell on which it has been applied gets the ability to put any extra text on the next line. So there is no spilling of text to the next cell. And since there is none of it, the width seems fine to Google Sheet.
So when you have a cell (or some cells) that have wrap text applied:
- In case there is a cell that is overflowing to the next cell, Google Sheets will adjust to make the width wider (note that cell with wrap text will never overflow)
- If the cell(s) with wrap text applied has white space, autofitting will adjust the column width to make sure there is no extra space.
So these are two simple ways you can use to Auto-fit column width in Google Sheets. I personally prefer the double-click method as it’s faster and efficient, but in case you’re not double-click person, you can also use the ‘Fit to Data’ option
Also, note that all the methods that we have covered in this tutorial also work when you have to resize and autofit rows in Google Sheets.
Hope you found this tutorial useful!
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