How to Automatically Resize a Table in Microsoft Word

Tables are a great way to organize and present data in Word documents. However, table formatting can be tricky. As you add or remove content, you may find your tables becoming distorted, with cell widths and heights changing unpredictably.

Fortunately, Word provides several methods to automatically resize tables to fit your content or document margins. This saves you the hassle of manually adjusting rows and columns.

When to Resize Tables

Here are some common cases when you’ll want to resize a table:

  • After adding the initial content, resize the columns and rows to fit
  • When content is added or removed, resize so cells aren’t too big or too small
  • Fit the table on one page by resizing columns or the whole table
  • Start a new document by inserting a table and having it automatically fit the page

Resize Using Layout Tab

The easiest way to automatically resize tables is with the Layout tab:

  1. Click inside the table and select the Layout tab in the Table Tools ribbon
  2. In the Cell Size group, click the AutoFit drop-down menu
  3. Choose one of the auto-resize options:
    • AutoFit Contents: columns and rows will resize to fit the text or numbers in each cell
    • AutoFit Window: the whole table will resize to fit inside the page margins

AutoFit dropdown menu

This method is quick and doesn’t require selecting anything first. Just click in the table and pick an AutoFit option.

Resize by Right-Clicking

You can also access AutoFit by right-clicking the table:

  1. Click inside the table, then right-click
  2. Select AutoFit, then choose AutoFit Contents or AutoFit Window

This performs the same operation as the Layout tab. The only difference is it opens the menu with a right-click instead of using the ribbon.

Distribute Columns and Rows Evenly

If your table has become distorted, with some very wide columns and some very narrow, you can evenly distribute column widths:

  1. Select the entire table
  2. Go to the Layout tab > Cell Size group
  3. Click Distribute Columns

This will make all columns the same width. This option is useful if you want your table to have an orderly, organized look.

There is also a Distribute Rows button to make all rows the same height.

Set Default Table Behavior

You can control whether tables should automatically fit their contents by default:

  1. With no tables selected, go to the Layout tab > Table group > Table Properties
  2. In the Table Properties dialog, go to the Table tab
  3. Check or uncheck the AutoFit behavior options:
    • AutoFit to contents: columns and rows resize automatically when contents change
    • AutoFit to window: table resizes automatically when window is resized

This controls the default behavior for all new tables. Existing tables won’t be changed.


Resizing tables in Word is easy thanks to the AutoFit options. By using the Layout tab, right-click menu, or Table Properties, you can save time and frustration. Your tables will look clean, professional, and well-organized.

The key points to remember are:

  • Use AutoFit Contents to resize cells to fit text
  • Use AutoFit Window to resize the table to fit the page
  • Distribute Columns and Rows to space evenly
  • Control default table behavior in Table Properties

With these handy table-formatting tools, you can insert tables into Word documents and have them resize automatically as needed. This frees you to focus on content while Word handles the formatting!

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