Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Double-Clicking to Widen Columns Won't Work.

Double-Clicking to Widen Columns Won't Work

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 2, 2014)

1

Normally, Excel allows you to double-click on the divider bar between column heads in order to widen a column. For instance, if you need to widen column C, all you need to do is move the mouse so it points to the divider between column headers for column C and column D; the mouse pointer changes to a double-headed arrow. When you double-click, column C is widened to accommodate the widest information in its cells.

There are times when double-clicking to widen a column won't work, however. In particular, Excel won't widen a column in this manner if the worksheet is protected. (The obvious solution is to unprotect the worksheet.)

You also cannot double-click to widen if the column is formatted using the Wrap Text attribute. You can use any different method of widening the column, but you cannot double-click.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10032) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Double-Clicking to Widen Columns Won't Work.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is four less than 9?

2016-03-25 07:32:06

Robert Frankel

Allen -

I have a workaround for the problems associated with Column Width/Row Height when cells are merged. Using a helper cell makes this a snap.

Off to the right (I typically go ~10 columns beyond the visual workspace), create a helper cell for the merged/text wrap cells. So, if my Merge Cells are B2:D2, I might create my helper cell in N2.

Copy the formatting from B2:D2 (not the merge, just in-cell formatting). Paste Special->Formatting into the helper cell (N2).

Hit the plus sign while in N2 and click on the merged cells so that the contents of the merged cells will always appear in the helper cell.

The very cool and critical step - Determine the total column width of the combined merge cells. Let's say you get 25. Go to your helper cell (N2) cell and set the column width a bit narrower (say 18 here).

Now, when you need to have your merged cells wrap, N2 will exhibit default auto-fit behavior. This will of course cause the merged cells in the same row to re-size.

That's it

Rob Frankel


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