Reverse detail from Kakelbont MS 1, a fifteenth-century French Psalter. This image is in the public domain. Daniel Paul O'Donnell

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How to make a table wider in Google Docs

Posted: Nov 27, 2016 13:11;
Last Modified: Nov 27, 2016 14:11

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I’ve spent a frustrating couple of days trying to squeeze things into a Google Docs table that was too narrow for its content.

The problem was that while I could move individual columns within a table, I simply couldn’t find the way of widening the outer boundaries of the table—i.e. moving the leftmost border to the left or the rightmost border to the right. Making things worse, I had been able to do it a couple of weeks ago. But nothing I was doing seemed to work now.

The trick turned out to be remarkably easy, though it points to a UI problem in Google Docs. Basically, Google Docs allows you to adjust column width in two different ways: by reaching up into the measurement ribbon at the top of the document and moving columns there (when you do this, you see a left-right arrow cursor [⇔] that has not been captured in the screenshot):

Or by placing the cursor over an actual boundary line and adjusting the column width there (here too, when you do this, you see a left-right arrow cursor [⇔] that has not been captured in the screenshot).

The first method (working on the measurement ribbon), however, only adjusts internal columns. You cannot slide the boundaries of the table using this method (in this case, no left-right arrow cursor [⇔] appears).

The second method, however, allows you to move these borders easily: it treats the outer borders like the inner (i.e. you see the left-right arrow cursor [⇔] that has not been captured in the screenshot).

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