There is a very easy way in Google Sheets to automatically adjust the column width to fit your text called "Fit to Data". This is a very useful and simple trick that will save you time and improve your basic spreadsheet skills. When you use the Fit to Data option, the columns automatically shrink and expand to fit the longest text string in each column.
To auto-resize columns in Google Sheets, simply move your cursor to the top right corner of the column you want to auto-resize and double-click when the double arrows appear (indicates Google Sheets is ready to resize the column).
Or you can also use the below method.
Follow these steps to automatically adjust column widths in Google Sheets:
- Select the column(s) you want to automatically resize
- Right-click on a selected column at the top
- click"Change column size..."
- Click on the menu that appears"Fit to data"
After following the steps above, your column or columns will adjust so that the width matches the text in each column.
Watch the video below to see examples of how to use Fit to Data/AutoFit.
Click here for your Google Sheets cheat sheet
Below are more detailed instructions on how to automatically change the column width, and I'll show you some more examples later. But let's look at the Fit to Data shortcut first, as it will make things faster for you.
Google Sheets mailing data linking
The easiest way to automatically change column widths in Google Sheets is to use the Fit to Data shortcut. When using the Fit to Data shortcut, instead of clicking and dragging to manually adjust the column width, just double-click Fit Column Width to fit the text in the cells.
To use the Fit to Data shortcut to automatically fit columns in Google Sheets, follow these steps:
- In the upper-right corner of the column you want to adjust, hover over the line separating the columns. Your cursor becomes a series of horizontal arrows pointing left and right
- Double-click your mouse while the horizontal arrows are displayed and your column will automatically adjust to fit the text.
Be sure to place your cursor to the right of the column you want to customize, especially if you are only customizing one column.
If you're just customizing a column, you don't need to select the column before using the shortcut.
If you select multiple columns, you can double-click any of the selected columns at the top to adjust them all at once.
In this lesson, I'll show you how to autofit individual column widths, and then I'll also show you how to autofit multiple columns at once.
If you have very long text in your cells, and instead of adjusting the column width, you prefer to make the text appear as a paragraph, continuing on a new line each time you reach the end of a cell, check Read the next article in word wrapping.
"How to Wrap, Cut, Overflow (Unwrap) Text in Google Sheets"
How to Fit Cell Width to Text in Google Sheets
So let's go over our first example of adjusting cell width to fit text, and along the way I'll give you a more detailed guide than the last.
In the example data below, you can see a list of names and phone numbers entered in column A. The text is too long to fit in the cells, so we'll use "Fit to Data" to fit the column to the longest piece of text.
Follow these steps to automatically fit columns in Google Sheets:
Step 1:If you need to customize multiple columns, select the columns you want to customize to fit your text.
Step 2:Use one of the methods below to use Fit to Data:
- Right-click on the column you want to resize and select "Resize Column...".
- Then click on Fit to data
- Click OK"
- In the upper-right corner, double-click the column you want to automatically resize
(Notice the horizontal arrows at the top of the column in the image below. This is what your cursor should look like when you're ready to double-click your mouse to use the Fit to Data shortcut.)
The following image shows the results of using Fit to Data, and as you can see, column A has expanded to accommodate the longest text string in that column, which in this case is in row 7 (cell A7).
Names and phone numbers now fit in cells, and we've done this without having to manually set column widths.
For the rest of the examples in this lesson, I'll refer to the double-click shortcut for automatically fitting columns to data. But if you prefer to use the menu/right click method described above, that's fine too.
How to expand columns to fit text in Google Sheets
Now let's see an example of how to group several columns to fit the text inside them all at once.
The following image shows recorded information about various vacation hotel options.
As you can see, the header text in columns C and D does not fit in the cells. The text that is in the non-headers of columns B and E (addresses and notes) also does not fit in the cells.
We will automatically resize columns A through F so that the columns fit the text in the cells. To do this, follow the steps below.
Start by selecting columns A through F.
To select several columns at once, click on the letter "A" at the top of the first column and, without releasing the click, drag the cursor to the right until you reach the letter "F" (then release the button). Mouse) .
You can also select multiple columns by selecting column A and repeatedly pressing the right arrow on your keyboard while holding down the Shift key to select additional columns to the right.
If the columns are selected correctly, the top of each selected column will be dark gray and the cells in the column will be highlighted in blue.
Now move the mouse pointer over the line between two of the selected columns on top of the columns.
As you can see in the image below, when the cursor is in the correct position to adjust the columns, it appears as a series of arrows pointing left and right. But instead of clicking and dragging to fit the columns, we'll use the Fit to Data shortcut.
Now just double click your mouse and the columns will automatically adjust to fit the data in each column.
In the image below, notice that some of the columns have been enlarged and others have been reduced. Each column has been grouped to fit the longest string of text found in that column.
Now you can see the header text, the address of each hotel and the registered notes for each hotel.
How to Shrink Columns to Fit Text in Google Sheets
The "Fit to data" option in Google Sheets is also useful for shrinking columns to fit the text.
An example of this would be if you were tracking daily frequency in a spreadsheet and wanted to group each day's columns into the restricted text it contains.
In the image below, you can see that the columns are much wider than necessary, so we can use "Fit to Data" to automatically fit the columns to the text.
To shrink the columns to fit the text shown in this example, do the following:
- Select columns B to J
- Double-click the line separating any two selected columns (at the top of the columns) to use the Fit to Data shortcut
After using Fit to Dates, the columns have been shrunk to fit the text in each column, and Daily Presence now looks much cleaner and more compact (as shown below).
Due to the balance between text height and length, the cells have now become almost perfect squares, which is perfect for recording things like attendance.
How to Automatically Fit Columns to Headers in Google Sheets
Another situation where Fit to Data is extremely useful is when you have headers that are too long to fit the default cell width and you want to quickly fit each column to the headers.
In the image below, you can see that the text on line 1 is not fully visible, so we've automatically adjusted the columns to fit the longest string of text in each column.
Follow these steps to automatically adjust the column width to fit the headers in this example:
- Select columns from A to G
- At the top of the columns, double-click the line separating one of the two selected columns
After applying Fit to Data, the columns expanded to fit the text in row 1, as shown in the image below.
Note that some columns are wider than others in row 1 due to different text sizes in each cell.
Column A has been expanded to include the longest name in that column, as the longest name is longer than the text found in the header for that particular column.
How to resize all columns to fit in Google Sheets
Let's look at another example where we'll automatically adjust the column width to fit the text in the cells, but in this example we'll resize all the columns to fit the text.
The following image shows the recorded time trial data.
We're going to use "Fit to Data" to resize each column, which in this case constrains the columns.
To resize all columns in Google Sheets, follow these steps:
- Select each column in your worksheet (or each column you want to customize)
- Right-click one of the selected columns at the top, click Resize Column, select Fit to Data, and click OK.
- If you prefer, you can also use the "Fit to Data" shortcut by double-clicking the barrier between two of the selected columns (at the top of the columns).
Since the recorded duration values are the same length for each time trial, the columns were shrunk to the same width after applying Fit to Data.
Now you can quickly and easily adapt your columns to the text they contain!
This can save you a lot of time and will generally make almost all of your professional spreadsheet tasks easier.
Click here to view your Google Sheets cheat sheet
- Position the mouse over the column line in the column heading so the cursor becomes a double arrow.
- Double-click the mouse. The column width will be changed automatically to fit the content.
- Select the column you need to autofit.
- Click the Home tab.
- In the Cells group, click on the 'Format' option. This will show additional options in the drop-down.
- Click on the 'Autofit Column Width' option.
You can autofit your columns in Google sheets by double-clicking on the column header. As with Excel, position your mouse at the right side of the column you wish to size. Double-click to autofit the column width to the widest contents of the column.How do you automatically resize a column to fit the data in a cell? ›
- Select the column or columns that you want to change.
- On the Home tab, in the Cells group, click Format.
- Under Cell Size, click AutoFit Column Width.
- Select the Select All button. at the top of the worksheet, to select all columns and rows.
- Double-click a boundary. All columns or rows resize to fit the data.
Resize a column or table automatically with AutoFit. Automatically adjust your table or columns to fit the size of your content by using the AutoFit button. Select your table. On the Layout tab, in the Cell Size group, click AutoFit.Which option automatically resize the column width based on different criteria? ›
Excel's AutoFit feature is designed to automatically resize cells in a worksheet to accommodate different sized data without having to manually change the column width and row height. AutoFit Column Width - changes the column width to hold the largest value in the column.What are the two methods for resizing a row or column? ›
When it looks like that, click and drag either up or down to adjust the height of the selected row or rows. You can also automatically resize columns and rows in Excel using the “AutoFit” feature.What are the options available in AutoFit? ›
- AutoFit Column Width expands the length of a column so you can see all the cell contents in the longest cell.
- AutoFit Row Height extends the height of a row so all the information in the tallest cell is visible.
Use autofill to complete a series
Highlight the cells. You'll see a small blue box in the lower right corner. Drag the blue box any number of cells down or across. If the cells form a series of dates or numbers, the series will continue across the selected cells.
- Select the columns by hitting Ctrl Spacebar.
- Hold down the shift key and use left and right arrow keys to highlight the range of columns.
- Hit Alt H O I to auto fit the columns.
Changing the column width in Excel automatically
You can quickly adjust the column width to accommodate the longest entry. Select any column from the worksheet. From the Cells group on the Home tab, choose Format. Select AutoFit Column Width to set that column to auto-fit the width depending on the contents.
- On your computer, open a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.
- Select a row or column to resize. To highlight multiple rows or columns: Mac: ⌘ + click the rows or columns. ...
- Right-click the row number or column letter.
- Click Resize row or Resize column. Then, choose an option: Enter a custom height or width. ...
- Click OK.
- Select your table.
- On the Layout tab, in the Cell Size group, click AutoFit.
- Do one of the following. To adjust column width automatically, click AutoFit Contents.
Press one of the following keyboard shortcuts: To AutoFit column width: Alt + H, then O, and then I. To AutoFit row height: Alt + H, then O, and then A.