How To Set Column Width in Inches (or Centimeters) in Excel?

I was recently asked if there is a way to set column width in inches in Excel. This was for a template this person was creating where they wanted the Excel cells to be of a specific size (in inches)

This may not be a regular day-to-day problem, but it’s something that can definitely make your head spin.

Now before you go into doing crazy calculations, let me tell you that there is a simple way to quickly set the row and column width to inches
(or centimeters).

It’s just hidden away, and you need to know the exact steps to do this (which I will give in this tutorial)

How To Set Column Width in Inches

By default, Excel has a default row height and column width in points (which is not in inches or centimeters).

Below are the steps to make sure Excel uses inches as the unit to measure column width and row height:

  1. Click the File tabClick-the-File-tab
  2. Click on OptionsClick-on-Options
  3. In the Excel Options dialog box, click on Advanced in the left paneClick-on-Advanced-option-in-the-left-pane
  4. Scroll down and come to the Display section.Scroll-down-to-display
  5. Click on the ‘Ruler Units’ drop-down and select ‘Inches’Set-ruler-units-to-Inches
  6. Click OK

The above steps have set inches as a way for you to change and measure row height and column width.

But you can’t just go now and change the row height or column width.

If you right-click on any column header and then click on the Column width option, you will see that it still uses the default unit to show column width (and the same happens with row height).

Then how can you set column width in Inches?

Below are the steps to do this:

  1. Click the View tabClick-the-view-tab
  2. In the Workbook Views group, click on the ‘Page Layout’ option.Click-on-Page-Layout-Option
  3. Right-Click on the column header (on the column for which you want to change the width and set it in inches)
  4. Click on the Column Width optionRight-click-on-column-header-and-then-click-on-Column-wisth
  5. Specify the width in inchesSet-column-width-in-inches
  6. Click OK.

The above steps would set the column width in inches. You can follow the same steps to set the row height in inches as well.

Once done, click on the View tab and then click on Normal to get the regular worksheet view.

In case you want to set the column width in centimeters, you can do that as well. Just change the display setting to centimeter (in the Excel Options dialog box) and then use the above steps.

Note: While Excel tries to make the column width you specified, in some cases, you may find that the width is not exactly what you specified, but still very close to it. For example, if you specify 4 centimeters, it may give you 3.98 centimeters. This is something you can’t get around.

You may also like the following Excel tutorials:

I am a huge fan of Microsoft Excel and love sharing my knowledge through articles and tutorials. I work as a business analyst and use Microsoft Excel extensively in my daily tasks. My aim is to help you unleash the full potential of Excel and become a data-slaying wizard yourself.

1 thought on “How To Set Column Width in Inches (or Centimeters) in Excel?”

  1. It never changes to inches. Your picture above shows you inserting the “inch” symbol. My excel will not allow anything other than a numeral. It never changes to inches. Frustrating!


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