How to Make All of the Columns the Same Size in Microsoft Excel

By Jenny Hansen

Excel 2013's default behavior is to widen a column as you type to accommodate the the content. There are many options for manually adjusting the width of an Excel column, but what if you want all the columns to be the same size? Whether you use the mouse, the Ribbon or the right-click shortcut menu, the techniques for creating uniform column widths are quick and easy.

Selecting the Columns

You must select anything you wish to format in Excel. The fastest way to select an entire worksheet is by using the small, unlabeled “Select All” button located in the upper left corner of any worksheet, to the left of Column A and above Row 1.If you prefer using the keyboard, "Control-A" is the command for Select All in Windows, and "Command-A" does the same on a Mac. If you need to highlight just a few columns, click on the letter in the column heading to select that column and drag left or right to select as many columns as you wish.

Widening Columns Using the Mouse

Once selected, sizing any single column makes all highlighted columns the same width. Simply move the mouse to the right side of the column heading until it changes into a two-sided black arrow. Click and drag to the right or left to change the column width. This width will show just to the right of the mouse in a yellow info box.If you drag the width too far to the left, you will hide the selected columns and must click the "Undo" button on the Home Ribbon to back up a step. Excel's default column width is 8.43 characters based on the default font.You can also specify an exact size for selected columns. Right-click on any of the column headings in the highlighted area, choose "Column Width" from the shortcut menu, type the number you'd like that column to accommodate in the dialog box that appears and click "OK."

Widening Columns Using the Ribbon

The menu command to change column width is located on the Home ribbon in the Cells group. Click the "Format" drop-down button and choose "Column Width," located under Cell Size. Type the number of characters you want your column to accommodate and click "OK."

Apply a Column Width to the Entire Spreadsheet

If you'd prefer to change the default column width for an entire worksheet, first click on the sheet tab to ensure you're in the correct worksheet. To change the default column width for an entire workbook, right-click on any sheet tab and choose "Select All Sheets" from the shortcut menu.Navigate to the Home tab and click "Format" in the Cells group. Under "Cell Size," choose "Default Width." Type in the standard column width you prefer and click "OK."