Q&A: Stop Tables Resizing

DoubleTable - expanding table 2010 on Behance

Q: I keep resetting the width of a column in my table, but when my client opens it, the column snaps back to 6″ wide! The same thing happens to me if I open the file on another computer.

A: Ugh, this is a great example of why Word is not the best choice for document design. But, there are three settings you can change to try to stop the table from resizing at least until the file goes to layout. These options are not fail-safe, but they’re your best bet:

  • Table properties
  • Table options
  • Autofit settings

Table Properties

The usual culprit behind endless resizing is found on the Column tab in the Table Properties dialog. Open that by clicking the Properties icon on the (Table) Layout ribbon. Deselect the option that sets a preferred width. Make sure the cursor is placed in the offending column, first.

Word's table layout ribbon
The (Table) Layout ribbon appears when the cursor is placed in a table. If your screen is wider, the icons at left where the Properties icon is found will be laid out in a line, no stacked.

Table Options

Screen Shot 2020-04-01 at 9.32.10 AM.png

Deselect the “Automatically resize to fit contents” option? Find that from the Options button on the Table tab in the Table Properties.

Autofit Settings

Screen Shot 2020-04-01 at 9.34.56 AM.png

Selecting “Fixed Column Width” (see pic) from the menu that opens when you click the AutoFit icon on the (Table) Layout ribbon.



Got a gnarly Word problem? Submit your problem and we’ll try to answer it in the new Q&A thread.


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