How to Resize All Window Columns with a Single Keystroke

When you’re dealing with an application that displays data in a set of columns, it’s often frustrating to have to resize each column separately—but today we’ve got a great trick for you that resizes all the columns with a single keystroke.

The secret keystroke to use is Ctrl and the Numpad’s + key, and it only works if you have a separate number pad on your PC—but we’ve also found a workaround for that as well. Keep reading.

Here’s How It Works

To better illustrate exactly how this trick works, we’ve put together a short video that shows the keyboard shortcut in action.

Resize All Columns with the Keyboard

In case you can’t load the video, here’s how it works—if you look at this example window, you’ll see how the columns are all bunched up, and you can’t see all of the data in them without resizing them, which can be frustrating.

image

Simply press the Ctrl key and the Numpad + key together, and you’ll see all of the columns instantly resized to fit the content:

image

Very useful in many situations!

Resize a Single Column the Quick Way

Sometimes you don’t want to resize all the columns, but you’d like to resize a single column to fit the content. All you need to do in this case is double-click on the separator between the columns, and it will instantly be resized to fit.

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This trick works in just about every application that we’ve ever used.

Got a Laptop without a Number Pad? Use AutoHotkey to Remap!

And now we get to the good stuff, for all those of us who use a laptop and don’t have a number key pad—in fact, I had to pull out a dusty keyboard just to test out this trick. The simple solution for all of us is to simply setup an AutoHotkey key mapping to map another keystroke to send Ctrl+NumpadAdd instead.

For instance, I’ve assigned the shortcut key combination Alt + to resize the columns, but of course, you could assign anything to it:

!=::Send,{LCtrl down}{NumpadAdd}{LCtrl up}

All you’ll need to do is create a new AutoHotkey script, paste in that single line, and then double-click on it for it to work.

Thanks for pointing out the original tip goes to WinSuperSite

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/13/10
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