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Explorer – “Size All Columns to Fit” Shortcut Key

It really bothers me and my 17 month old son that Windows Explorer in Vista randomly forgets the column widths between different folders.  It also bothers us that there isn’t an option to have the columns automatically size to fit when I browse between folders. 

So my day goes like this:

  1. Browse to new folder and see 4 letters of each filename…
  2. Move the mouse to column header bar.
  3. Right-Click.
  4. Choose “Size All Columns to Fit”.
  5. Browse to a different folder.
  6. Rinse and repeat.

A little bit of relief has been sent my way as I recently found out that there is a shortcut key for making the columns size to fit.  It took me more time than I normally like to spend finding a shortcut key, which is why I am posting it here, in hopes that others may find it more easily.

 Ctrl++

It looks like the Carson Daly version of C++, doesn’t it?  (as I quickly call in to have them show the flotzam video just one more time; they allow c# to be played since they’re all related)

In English, it means the Control Key (pick your favorite) and the + key located on your number pad, not the one that gets to be on top of the equal sign.  This also means that this shortcut requires either long fingers, or two hands.  If you can’t afford long fingers you can always use those popsicle sticks you have in your pen/junk drawer as finger extensions.

In reality, I could display it like this: Ctrl plus +

About John

John Rennemeyer is a software engineer that started his own development company MuvEnum, LLC in 2005. Born in Utah, he is a father of six, husband of one, and grandparent of none. His current programming passions include Xamarin, WPF, SharePoint, and their supporting technologies. His current non-programming passions include spending time with his family and hanging out with friends while enjoying food and fun. How's that for specific?

  • Carol in dc

    Thanks for saving me hours of frustration in my new vista!!!

    Just to make it a little more clear…

    Also you have to have number lock ON – AND you have your cursor highlighting either a file or a folder for this to work.

    Also, remember in folder options you can APPLY the same VIEW settings to whatever folders and its subfolders you want. IF you like ALL folders in documents (or other) setting, just go to your own profile and start there. Another dozens of hours saved!

  • Thanks for the comment.

    I tested your extra requirements you mentioned and I was able to have the shortcut work when num-lock was off and/or when I didn’t have any folder or file highlighted.

    To be extra clear, this is when using the “Views – Details” setting.

    Can you verify this again making sure you are in “Views – Details” mode?

  • A previously frustrated Vista user

    John, I want to have your baby! Thanks!!!!

  • dlb

    I found this trick by accident, then forgot it the next time I needed it. Thanks for reminding me. I am an old C++ programmer, so your fun post will surely help me remember the next time. And thanks to Google for finding you.

  • Erik

    Thanks! Will test this!