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Modify the smallest units for column width in Excel without changing the default font

Posted on 2013-05-12
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Last Modified: 2013-05-27
Note: This is kind of is of a bizarre question but if someone knows a solution, it will save me several hours of work.  :)

Hello,

Is there a way to modify the smallest units for column width in Excel (2010) without changing the default font? What I mean is probably most easily explained by going directly to an example:

When Excel's default font is set to Calibri, the column width settings in the narrowest range are limited to the following:

        0.00 > 0.08 > 0.17 > 0.25 > 0.33 > 0.42 > ...

In other words, if you try to set the column width to say, 0.16, it will actually set to 0.17 as the precise value 0.16 is not allowed.

On the other hand, when the default font is set to Comic Sans MS, the column width settings in the narrowest range are limited to:

        0.00 > 0.08 > 0.15 > 0.23 > 0.31 > 0.38 > ...

If a column width of 0.16 is entered in this case, it is again not accepted exactly but in this case will come out as 0.15.

My question is whether or not there is a way to remove the limitations described above without changing the default font setting?

Thanks

PS The following is a bit more information which is specific to my workbook and may or may not be helpful:

When Calibri is set as the default font, all 10 numeric digits of both Calibri & Comic Sans MS (set to 8 pts) will display when entered in five merged cells (width 0.17).

However, when Comic Sans MS is the default font, 9* of the 10 numeric digits of both Calibri & Comic Sans MS (set to 8 pts) will not display when entered in five merged cells (width 0.15).

*The digit "1" is the exception.
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Question by:Steve_Brady
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by:Rory Archibald
ID: 39160805
When you refer to not modifying the default font, do you mean the default for Excel as a whole or for the workbook itself (i.e. the Normal style)?
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by:byundt
ID: 39161382
I don't believe anybody other than Microsoft has control over the increments of column width.

Taking a step back, is the reason for your question a desire to get the digits to show in that 5 cell wide merged cell range of minimum column width? If so, consider using a smaller point size.

Although the dropdown for point size only goes down to 8 point, you can type in smaller numbers and hit Enter. The increments for these smaller sizes are 0.5. For example, you could choose Comic Sans MS 6, 6.5, 7 or 7.5.

On my laptop using Comic Sans MS 7 point, all ten digits show in a five column wide merged cell range where each column has a minimal width.

Excel tries to be WYSIWYG, so the video and printer drivers interact to control what is displayed. The idea being that what you see on the screen should approximate what you get on the printed page. That's why if you change printers, there may be a difference in line breaks when you word wrap cells with lots of text content.

The Zoom setting for the window and the printed page will also enter into the picture. My tests were made at 100%.

In other words, you will need to print some test pages with the fonts and point sizes of interest before you conclude that it will or won't work to your satisfaction.
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by:Rob Henson
ID: 39164305
Have you tried using the "Shrink to fit" option in the cell formatting?

Thanks
Rob H
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Author Comment

by:Steve_Brady
ID: 39165045
Thanks for the responses.

>>Rory,
"...do you mean the default for Excel as a whole or for the workbook itself..."


I guess I'm not sure what the difference is between the two settings you mentioned. Here's a screenshot though of the default font setting to which I'm referring:

Fig. 1
>>Brad,
"...consider using a smaller point size."


I have tried that but for some reason, both of the fonts I mentioned as well as many others, take a nosedive in appearance when set to less than 8:

Fig. 2If there is a way to fix that then the problem would be solved.

>>Brad
"...is the reason for your question a desire to get the digits to show in that 5 cell wide merged cell range of minimum column width?"


Yes, that's exactly what I'm trying to do. Also, and I should've mentioned this earlier, none of what I am working on is destined for the printer. It is all meant to be viewed on-screen.

A large portion of what exists in this particular spreadsheet was originally done using Comic Sans MS but when the default font was set to Calibri. Part of that involved using lots of 8 pt digits in five merged cells.

Later on, the default font was changed to Comic Sans MS and of course, it didn't even occur to me that some of those 8 pt Comic Sans MS characters would not now be displayed. That was only discovered after quite a bit more time was invested in other parts of the spreadsheet.

So now it's the proverbial rock and a hard place — i.e. it appears that one part or the other (what was done before or what was done since) will have to be redone...

...unless there is a clever workaround which is what I'm hoping for.  :)
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byundt earned 500 total points
ID: 39165071
Try Arial Narrow font. At 8 point, all digits are visible. In fact, even at 9 point, all digits are visible.
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Expert Comment

by:Rory Archibald
ID: 39165086
The picture you show relates to the application defaults. You can change the font for the normal style in a particular workbook though which will only affect that workbook.
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Author Comment

by:Steve_Brady
ID: 39169613
>>Try Arial Narrow font.

That's perfect Brad. I love the simple solutions and that's about as simple as it gets.

Thanks
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