How to Autofit in Excel:
Adjust Rows and Columns in a Snap

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

Adjusting column widths and row heights in Excel can make for a much nicer looking spreadsheet. No need for cells that get cut off! (Or, for that matter, cells that have a lot of extra space.)

And if you learn to quickly use AutoFit, you can get perfectly sized cells in no time.

Here’s everything you need to know about resizing rows and columns.

It might seem like a trivial exercise, but if you know a couple little tricks, you can save a lot of time!

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

*This tutorial is for Excel 2019 for Windows. Got a different version? No problem, you can still follow the exact same steps.

Get your FREE exercise file

We’ve whipped up an sample worksheet for you to practice your resizing and AutoFitting skills on.

Download it below and follow along with the rest of the article!

Download the FREE Exercise File

Download exercise file
Download free exercise file

Adjusting row height
and column width

If there’s not enough room to display the contents of a cell, Excel will shorten it.

Sometimes you might see a number that’s not displaying all of its decimals:

shortened-number

Above, a few decimal places are cut off.

Below, you’ll see that Excel has shortened a long number using exponential notation:

excel-exponential

Often, these shortenings will be fine. You can always click the cell to see the full number displayed in the formula bar.

Sometimes, though, you’ll want to see the number displayed in the cell.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

We can solve this problem by resizing the column.

Click on the edge of the column and drag it to the right.

resize-column

You can do the same thing with rows.

You might not use this quite as often, but it’s great for adding space between cells or getting more text to fit.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto
resize-row

AutoFitting rows and columns

Resizing rows and columns is easy. But AutoFitting them is even easier.

AutoFit adjusts row height and column width so every value in the row or columns fits perfectly.

This is great if you don’t know how long every value is, and you don’t want to scroll through all of them.

The best part is how simple it is. All you have to do is double-click on the boundary of the row or column you want to AutoFit.

Here’s how it works:

autofit-column

The column has been adjusted so the largest number is displayed, and nothing gets cut off.

Excel even adds a bit of extra space so it looks nice.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Again, the same thing works with rows. Double-click the row boundary.

Resizing multiple rows or columns

If you have a large spreadsheet that has many rows and columns that need resizing, doing it all by hand would take a long time.

Fortunately, Excel makes it easy to resize as many rows and columns as you want at the same.

On the second sheet of the example workbook, you’ll see a few rows that are too narrow for their contents.

two-columns

Let’s fix that.

First, select both columns by clicking on the “A” above column A, holding the Shift key, and clicking on the “B” next to it.

select-two-columns

Now, click and drag either column boundary to resize it.

resize-multiple-columns

Both columns now have the same (larger) width.

You can do the same with with AutoFit.

Select both columns, double-click on one of the borders, and they’ll both be independently AutoFit.

Keep in mind the “independent” part of that statement. Both columns will be AutoFit, so you’ll end up with different widths.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Pro tip: AutoFit your entire spreadsheet

Do you want to AutoFit dozens or hundreds of columns and rows at once?

Hit Ctrl + A to select your entire spreadsheet, then double-click any row or column boundary to autofit every row or column in the spreadsheet.

Specifying height or width

Click-and-dragging and AutoFitting are the easiest ways to change row and column dimensions. But in some cases, you want to control the exact height or width.

There’s an easy way to do that, too.

First, click into any cell in the row or column you’d like to resize.

Then, in the Home tab of the Ribbon, click Format (you’ll find it in the Cells section):

format-menu

In the dropdown, you’ll see Row HeightAutoFit Row HeightColumn Width, and AutoFit Column Width.

If you select Row Height or Column Width, you’ll get a dialog box that lets you enter the width in centimeters.

set-column-width

Setting the default column width

You can also set Excel’s default column width.

When you do this, columns that you’ve resized won’t change in width. They’ll stay at the custom width that you chose.

Everything that hasn’t been manually resized, however, will change to the new default.

To do this, click the Format button and select Default Width…

default-column-width

In case you’re wondering, the standard default width is 8.43 centimeters, or 64 pixels.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Get perfect rows and columns
every time

With AutoFit and the other features we’ve discussed in this post, you never have to settle for rows or columns that don’t quite fit your data.

Instead, you’ll have perfectly sized columns every time. And with AutoFit, you won’t have to waste time messing around. A quick double-click, and your spreadsheet is ready to go!