I draw a table and select the column. In the layout tab, there is an auto-fit option that we can select fixed column width, but when I select this option nothing happened.

How can I use this option?

  • If you expected word to give each column the same width, you should use Distribute Columns instead. Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 13:13

3 Answers 3


How can I use the Fixed Column Width option?

It gives you more control over how the columns widths are calculated. If you change this option you won't see any immediate effect.

If this option is set you can manually size columns and word will not recalculate the width later if the table is moved or otherwise altered.

Fixed Column Width gives you control over column widths

Table Tools Layout > AutoFit > Fixed Column Width gives you control over column widths.

When you select the option, Word clears the "Preferred width" setting for the whole table and disables "Automatically resize to fit contents" in the Table Options dialog box.

Source: Table Column Widths Fixing Size in Word 2010

Fixed Column Width doesn't mean that the column widths can't be changed

Fixed Column Width doesn't mean that the column widths can't be changed.

Rather, it means that Word won't automatically change the column widths when the table is moved or otherwise altered, but you can still change them.

The command is on or off for an entire table, so selecting columns isn't necessary.

Source: What is Fixed Column Width in Word

  • @fixer it's meant to indicate the source of the material I'm quoting as in "How to reference material written by others". Do you have a better suggestion?
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 21:10
  • @fixer1234 I like it - thanks for the suggestion ;)
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 21:25

You can add the Fixed Column Width command to the Quick Access Toolbar, if that helps (File | Options | Quick Access Toolbar). You'll find it if you first select "All Commands" in the "Choose commands from" drop down.

or Table Tools > Layout >Width will lock the width for sure.

  • Please read the question again carefully. Your answer does not answer the original question, which asks "How can I use fixed column width"? There is no mention of fixed column width in your answer.
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 10:50
  • You still haven't answered the question. OP already has this selected (and nothing happens).
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 10:56

A column width doesn't get extended when you choose fixed column width AND the text will be continued in the next line(i.e wrapped).. Where as Auto fit contents means our text will be fit in the cell no empty left and right spaces AND text will be in a singe line because column is of no fixed length Auto fit window: You observe some space at up and left of the text.........

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