How to Resize Table Rows and Columns in Word 2013

By Lois Lowe

Word 2013 handles row height automatically for you, so you usually don’t have to think about it. The row height changes as needed to accommodate the font size of the text in the cells of that row.

Text in a cell wraps automatically to the next line when it runs out of room horizontally, so you can expect your table rows to expand in height as you type more text into them.

If you manually resize a row’s height, the ability to auto-resize to fit content is turned off for that row. Therefore, if you add more text to that row later, Word doesn’t automatically expand that row’s height to accommodate it, and some text may be truncated.

In contrast, column width remains fixed until you change it, regardless of the cell’s content. If you want the width of a column to change, you must change it yourself.

  1. In a Word 2013 document with a table, position the mouse pointer over the column divider between the first and second columns.

    The mouse pointer becomes a double-headed arrow.


  2. Drag to the right slightly to increase the width of the first column by about 1/4 inch.

    Notice that the second column’s heading in the first row now wraps unattractively.


  3. Press Ctrl+Z to undo the column width change. While pressing the Shift key, repeat Steps 1 and 2.

    The other columns shift to the right to make room for the new width because the Shift key is pressed.

  4. Select the cells containing 1 and 2 in the first column.

  5. Drag the column divider between the first and second columns to the left about 1/4 inch, dragging that column back to its original position.

    Only the two rows where cells were selected are affected.


  6. Press Ctrl+Z to undo the column change; click to move the insertion point inside any cell in the first column.

  7. Choose Table Tools Layout→AutoFit→AutoFit Contents.

    All the column widths are adjusted in the table to fit the content more compactly.


  8. Press Ctrl+Z to undo the resizing; double-click the column divider between the first and second columns.

    This time only column 1 resizes to fit its contents more compactly.

  9. Position the mouse pointer over the horizontal divider between the heading row at the top and the first data row.

    The mouse pointer becomes a two-headed arrow.


  10. Drag downward to increase the height of the heading row by about 1/4 inch.

  11. Select the heading row, and choose Table Tools Layout→Align Bottom Left.

    The headings are bottom-aligned in their cells. Vertical alignment was not an issue previously because the height of the row was auto-fitted to the content.


  12. Click the table selector icon in the upper-left corner of the table to select the entire table.

  13. Choose Table Tools Layout→Distribute Columns to evenly distribute the space among all the columns.


  14. Press Ctrl+Z to undo the distribute operation.

  15. Save the changes to the document.