Microsoft Excel – getting column widths to just fit a Word document width

If you are trying to work out column widths in Excel, you will find that by default they are measured in pixels. However, when you are looking at the ruler on a Word page you will find that measurements are in centimetres.

To work out whether an Excel worksheet will just fit a Word page if you copy and paste it, it would be helpful to change your Excel width settings to be measured in centimetres too.

To do this, click File – Options – Advanced. In the Display group, from the Ruler Units dropdown select Centimeters then click OK.


Insert an extra row at the top of your Excel worksheet (or use a blank row at the bottom).

In the first cell, type =CELL(“WIDTH”,A1).

The width of the cell will be returned. Use the fill handle to copy this formula across to the rest of the columns to be copied over to Word. You can use Autosum to work out the total width.

In Word, if you are using Portrait mode, the page width is 15.92cm using default margin settings (21cm – (2*2.54)); if you are using Landscape mode, the default page width is 24.62cm. These can be changed by changing margin settings – Layout tab, Margins dropdown, and choose one of the settings there or by clicking Custom Margins.

Therefore by adapting column size in Excel and margin size in Word, you can ensure a good fit when you copy and paste from Excel to Word.

Find out more about our Microsoft Excel training and Microsoft Word training in the London, Surrey and Middlesex areas.

Find out more about our Microsoft Excel training and Microsoft Word training in the Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire areas.


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