How To Understand Columns in Windows
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Who Should Read This Tutorial:
Users Of Windows Operating Systems

Many people are unaware of columns which appear in certain Windows programs and windows.  Even more so, most people don't understand they can change the width of a column, they can often sort by column and they can, many times, add or remove columns.   

First, let's identify just some of the programs or windows which, by default, have columns:

(My) Computer Windows Explorer Control Panel
Outlook Outlook Express Vista Mail
Microsoft Excel iTunes IncrediMail
Now, let's take a look at how you can change the width of a column.  We'll use columns from Outlook Express to see how it is done but, generally speaking, it's the same in any Windows program where you have columns.

Here's how you change the width of a column.

1. Take note of the vertical lines between the columns. (Circled in red in the example.)

2)  Move your cursor to the vertical line on the right side of the column you want to expand or reduce. You will note that the cursor changes into a cross with arrows on the horizontal plane.

3. Once the cursor changes into the cross, hold down the left mouse button and drag the cursor to the right to expand the column, to the left to decrease the size. Continue to drag until the column is the width you want. In this example, note that we dragged the cursor to the right (thus expanding the column) and now we can see what time the e-mails were received.

 Great!  Now we can change the width of a column.  Suppose, however, we want to add or remove columns - how do we do that?
iTunes columns

Again, speaking in generalities, to change columns, you would:

1)  Right-click on any column heading (as shown above in the iTunes picture) and a menu should appear giving you the names of all the columns available - usually with checkmarks in front of the columns which are visible.


2)  Next, remove the checkmarks from the columns you don't want to see and/or click to add checkmarks for the columns you do want.

Finally, how do you sort by a column?  Actually, this is pretty simple.  All you need to do is left-click on the column heading and everything will be sorted by that column.  Click on the same column heading again, and everything will be sorted in reverse order.