How To Fit a Table to the Page in Microsoft Word

Posted by Joseph on February 2, 2019

Tables in Microsoft Word can be incredibly useful for an assortment of things. They allow for basic data alignment, organizing of rows, columns, and even the layout of entire sentences or images. The last one is especially useful when using a landscape page layout.

For a short lesson on how to get your tables to fit properly within Word complications free, follow the tutorial provided below.


Adjusting a Table For Office 2011

For those of you still enjoying Office 2011:

To Resize a Table

  1. Click the View tab, and in the menu ribbon select Print Layout or  Publishing Layout.
  2. Click the table you want to resize.
  3. Place your cursor on the lower-right corner of the table until the diagonal arrow icon Table Resize Cursor appears.
  4. Extend the table boundary until the table is the desired size.


To Change the Row Height

  1. Click the View tab, and in the menu ribbon select Print Layout or  Publishing Layout.
  2. Click the table you want to adjust.
  3. Place your cursor on the row boundary until the Horizontal split arrow icon pops up.
  4. Drag the row boundary until it reaches the height desired.


To Change the Column Width

  1. Click the View tab, and in the menu ribbon select Print Layout or  Publishing Layout.
  2. Click the table you want to adjust.
  3. Place your cursor on the column boundary until the Vertical split arrow icon pops up.
  4. Drag the column boundary until it reaches the width desired.


To Make Multiple Rows or Columns the Same Size

  1. Select the columns or rows you want to adjust and click on the Table Layout tab.
  2. Below the “Cell Size” section, click on Distribute Rows or Distribute Columns.


Adjusting a Table For Newer Versions of Microsoft Office

For those of you keeping your Microsoft Office up to date beyond 2011, the only major difference is the ability to adjust column and row size directly in the ribbon.

  1. Simply click on your table and new tabs will appear along with the standard ones.
  2. By clicking on Design, the ribbon offers various ways to style your table.
  3. By clicking on Layout, the ribbon allows for size adjustments.
  4. To resize individually chosen columns or rows, click on the cell and then adjust the height and width inside the ribbon by clicking the up or down arrows next to the corresponding adjustment. You can also manually type in the length if preferred.
  5. To resize multiple rows or columns, select the columns and click on Distribute Columns or select the rows and click on Distribute Rows.


Using Auto-Fit to Automatically Resize the Table

  1. Click on your table.
  2. In the “Layout” tab beneath the Table Tools section, you’ll find AutoFit.
  3. AutoFit will present two options. To auto-adjust column width, choose AutoFit Contents. This will fit all of your columns to the text, or if the cells are empty, the page margins. To auto-adjust table width to the text, choose AutoFit Window.

In order to turn off AutoFit, choose Fixed Column Width from the available options.


Altering the Space Within the Table

Adjusting the cell margins or spacing is the best way to add space inside your table. The image shows the cell margins marked with a blue arrow and the cell spacing marked as orange.


To adjust either the margins or spacing:

  1. Highlight your table.
  2. Up in the “Layout” tab, locate the “Alignment” section.
  3. Click Cell Margins and then, within the “Table Options” box, adjust the measurements accordingly.


Keeping Your Table On A Single Page

More complex Word documents may develop a need for additional tables. Normally, tables are pretty small and easily fit on a single page. For the longer tables, you may have, it could be irritating to have a page break occur mid-table.

To avoid this annoyance:

  1. Select all of the rows in the table.
  2. In the standard “Layout” tab, within the “Paragraph” section, click on the Paragraph Options icon on the lower right.
  3. Click over to the “Line and Page Breaks” tab.
  4. Make sure that the Keep lines together box is checked.
  5. Click OK.

You’ll need to repeat these steps for each table with one minor alteration. When highlighting the table, DO NOT highlight the last row. For the table to stay whole, this is a necessary step. Don’t forget it!


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