Apply auto-fit property to multiple columns simultaneously

If you're fairly new to Excel, here's an oldie that you'll appreciate—how to adjust the width of multiple columns at once!

Does the mess in the following figure look familiar to you? I just imagine it does! That's what happens when values are longer than the column can accommodate. The solution is simple—widen the column(s).

You probably know that you can double-click the right border of a column's header cell to automatically adjust the width of a column. Specifically, Excel will increase the column width to accommodate the largest entry in the column—with just a double-click! What you might not know is that you can adjust the width of multiple columns at the same time by selecting a block of columns first. Here's how:

  1. Select the columns in question—columns A through E using the example sheet above. (Just drag across the column headers to select multiple columns.)
  2. Hover the mouse pointer over the right-border of any of the selected columns until the double-headed arrow appears..
  3. Double-click a column header border.

This is one of those simple tips that I assume everyone knows until I see someone doing it the hard way. What other oldie but goody tip do you assume everyone knows? Share those with us—you might be surprised how many readers aren't familiar with your tried and true favorite!

By Susan Harkins

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.