Column Width Not the Same When Printed

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Article ID: 163621 - View products that this article applies to.
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When you print or preview a worksheet, the column widths fail to be printed or appear as they appear on the screen in normal view.


Depending on the fonts you use, column widths and row heights may appear differently when you print or view a worksheet in print preview. This behavior occurs when you use proportionally spaced fonts, such as a proportional TrueType font.

This problem does not occur when you use monospace fonts (fonts with fixed widths), such as Courier New. The discrepancy in font metrics is a function of how Microsoft Windows reports the font information to Microsoft Excel.


To work around the column width problem, use either of the following methods.

Method 1: Use a Monospace Font

  1. Select the cells that contain the data. On the Format menu, click Cells.
  2. In the Format Cells dialog box, click the Font tab and select a monospace font, such as Courier New.

Method 2: Manually Resize the Column

  1. Drag the boundary on the right side of the column heading until the column is the width you want.


    Select the column you want to resize, point to Column on the Format menu and click Width. Type a smaller number and click OK.
  2. On the File menu, click Print Preview to preview the page.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as necessary until the column appears correctly.


Most printers offer a much higher resolution (300 or 600 dots per inch) than a computer screen (72 dpi). Therefore, information that is displayed on the screen is rendered differently than the printed output. When you select a column or row, and then use the AutoFit command, the font metrics that are used on the screen are different than the metrics the printer uses; some characters for some fonts may use a fractional value. For example, a font may report 9.1 pixels, but because a display driver is unable to work with fractional amounts, it rounds the amount to the nearest whole pixel value. In this example, 9.1 pixels is rounded down to 9.0 pixels. When a higher resolution printer renders the view in print preview or is used when you print the worksheet, the characters may be printed at a resolution of 9.1 pixels. Because the column width is calculated based on the rounded whole number value, the printed output of the column width is different from the displayed column width. This discrepancy is particularly apparent when you use the AutoFit command to resize columns that contain long text strings.


For more information about using the AutoFit command, click the Index tab in Help, type the following text
   columns, width
and then double-click the selected text to go to the "Change a column width or row height" topic.


Article ID: 163621 - Last Review: August 17, 2005 - Revision: 1.3
  • Microsoft Excel 97 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0 Standard Edition
kbprb kbprint kbualink97 KB163621
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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