How to Set Excel Column Width in Inches: A Step-by-Step Guide

Setting the column width in inches in Excel might sound like a tricky task, but it’s pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. Basically, you’ll need to know the exact measurement you want to set, access the column width option from the Home tab, and then enter your desired width. Even if you’re not an Excel whiz, you’ll be able to tackle this with ease after a quick run-through. So, let’s dive in, shall we?

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Set Excel Column Width in Inches

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s establish what we’re aiming for here. Setting your column widths in inches can help ensure that your spreadsheet data fits perfectly when printed, or just for the sake of uniformity and aesthetics within your document. Now, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Step 1: Open your Excel spreadsheet

Open the Excel file where you want to set the column width.

This step is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s an essential starting point. Make sure you’re working on the right spreadsheet to avoid any mix-ups.

Step 2: Select the column(s)

Click on the letter at the top of the column that you want to change.

You can select multiple columns by clicking and dragging across the letters of the columns or holding down the Ctrl key while clicking on individual column letters.

Step 3: Access the column width option

Right-click on the selected column(s) and choose ‘Column Width.’

If you’re more of a menu navigator, you can also find this option under the ‘Home’ tab, in the ‘Cells’ group, by clicking on ‘Format’ and then selecting ‘Column Width.’

Step 4: Enter the width in inches

Type in the desired width in inches into the Column width box and click ‘OK.’

Keep in mind that Excel internally uses characters as its measurement unit for column width. However, it roughly translates to 1 inch being equal to 8.43 units of column width. So, you’ll need to do some quick math. For example, if you want a 2-inch width, you’d enter 16.86 (2 times 8.43).

Once you’ve entered your desired width in inches, your column will adjust accordingly. You’ll notice the cells in the column now have more (or less) space to accommodate your content based on the inch measurement you’ve set.

What Happens Next

After completing the above steps, your columns will be set to your specified width in inches. This means that your data should have a more uniform look, and if you’re preparing your spreadsheet for printing, it should fit the page better.

Tips on How to Set Excel Column Width in Inches

  • Remember that Excel’s default measurement unit is not in inches, so you’ll need to convert the inches to Excel’s column width units.
  • When converting, use the rough estimate that 1 inch equals 8.43 Excel column width units.
  • If you need to set multiple columns to the same width, select them all at once to apply the change in one go.
  • If you’re adjusting columns for printing, consider the page margins and any headers or footers that might affect the printable area.
  • Use the ‘Print Preview’ feature to check how your columns will appear on the page before you print.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I convert inches to Excel’s column width units?

To convert inches to Excel’s column width units, multiply the number of inches by 8.43. For example, for a 3-inch width, you’d calculate 3 x 8.43 to get 25.29 units.

Can I set the column width to fractions of an inch?

Yes, you can set the column width to fractions of an inch. Just do the conversion as you would for whole inches and enter the decimal value in the Column Width box.

Is there a way to set the column width for multiple columns at once?

Yes, you can set the column width for multiple columns at once by selecting all columns you want to adjust and then following the same steps for changing the column width.

Will changing the column width affect my data?

Changing the column width will not affect the data itself, but it may affect how the data is displayed. For instance, if you make a column narrower, some data may not be fully visible in the cell.

Can I revert back to the default column width after changing it?

Absolutely! If you want to revert back to the default width, simply follow the same steps and enter the default width value of 8.43 units for a 1-inch column width.


  1. Open your Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Select the column(s) you want to change.
  3. Right-click and choose ‘Column Width.’
  4. Enter the width in inches, converted to Excel’s column width units.


There you have it! Setting the column width in inches in Excel is no Herculean task. It’s all about understanding the conversion from inches to Excel’s unit of measurement and knowing where to input your desired width. Whether you’re prepping for a print job or just want your data to look its best, mastering this skill will definitely come in handy.

As you continue to work with Excel, remember that the software is incredibly versatile. Take the time to explore other formatting options and features that can elevate your data presentation game. For those who are still a bit shaky on their Excel legs, don’t worry—like any other skill, it gets easier with practice. So keep tinkering, keep exploring, and before you know it, you’ll be the one explaining how to set Excel column width in inches to someone else!

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