How to Autofit a Column in Word: Step-by-Step Guide

Auto-fitting a column in Word is a nifty trick that can save you a lot of time and effort when working with tables. The process is straightforward: basically, you’re telling Word to automatically adjust the width of a column based on the content it contains. This means no more manually dragging column edges to make everything fit! Ready to learn how? Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Autofit a Column in Word

Before we jump into the steps, let’s understand what we’re aiming to achieve here. By following these instructions, you’ll be instructing Word to resize a column in a table so that it fits the content within it perfectly. This is especially useful when dealing with tables that have varying amounts of text in each cell.

Step 1: Open your Word document

Open the Word document that contains the table you want to adjust.

When you open your document, make sure the table you want to autofit is visible on your screen. If you can’t see it, scroll through your document until you find it.

Step 2: Click inside the table

Click inside the column of the table that you want to autofit.

It’s important to click inside the specific column you wish to autofit because Word needs to know which column you’re working with. If you click outside of the table or in a different column, the autofit feature won’t apply to the column you intended.

Step 3: Navigate to the Layout Tab

Go to the "Layout" tab in the toolbar at the top of the page.

The "Layout" tab is part of the "Table Tools" set of options that appear when you click inside a table. If you don’t see the "Layout" tab, make sure you’ve clicked inside the table.

Step 4: Click on ‘Autofit’

In the "Layout" tab, look for the ‘Autofit’ option and click on it.

You’ll find the ‘Autofit’ option within the "Cell Size" group of options. It’s typically represented by an icon with two arrows pointing at opposite sides of a cell.

Step 5: Choose ‘Autofit Contents’

From the drop-down menu that appears after clicking ‘Autofit,’ select the ‘Autofit Contents’ option.

This will prompt Word to automatically resize the column width based on the widest entry in the column. The contents of your column will now be displayed without any text being cut off or any excess space.

Once you’ve completed these steps, the column in your Word document’s table should automatically adjust to fit the content you have. It’s a quick and easy way to ensure your tables look clean and professional.

Tips: Making the Most of Autofit in Word

  • Ensure your table is not set to a fixed width, as this can prevent autofit from working correctly.
  • If you have merged cells in your table, autofit will consider the merged cell as one unit, which might affect the autofit outcome.
  • Remember that autofit will only adjust the width of the column, not the height of the rows.
  • Use ‘Autofit Window’ if you want the table to fit the width of your document’s page.
  • If your table content changes, you may need to repeat the autofit process to readjust the column width.

Frequently Asked Questions

What versions of Word does autofit work in?

Autofit is available in most versions of Microsoft Word, including Word 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word for Microsoft 365.

Can I autofit multiple columns at the same time?

Yes, you can autofit multiple columns by selecting them before clicking on ‘Autofit.’ Hold down the "Ctrl" key while clicking to select non-adjacent columns.

Will autofit work on a table with images in the cells?

Autofit will adjust the column based on the size of the images, but you may not get the desired result if the images vary greatly in size.

Can autofit be reversed?

You can manually adjust the column width after autofitting, effectively reversing it. There is no ‘undo autofit’ option, but you can use the ‘Undo’ command (Ctrl+Z) to revert changes.

Can autofit make my table wider than the page?

Using ‘Autofit Contents’ will not make your table wider than the page. However, if you select ‘Autofit Window,’ your table may stretch to fit the page width.


  1. Open your Word document.
  2. Click inside the table.
  3. Navigate to the Layout Tab.
  4. Click on ‘Autofit.’
  5. Choose ‘Autofit Contents.’


Congratulations! You now know how to autofit a column in Word, which is a real game-changer when it comes to working with tables. No more guessing or dragging column edges around – Word can handle it all with just a few clicks. As you continue to use this feature, you’ll find that your documents look crisper and more professional. It’s a small detail, but it can make a significant impact on the readability and presentation of your tables. So go ahead, give it a try in your next document, and see how much time and frustration you’ll save. And remember, if you have any questions or run into any issues, the FAQ section above might just have the answer you’re looking for. Happy autofitting!

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