Earlier versions of Excel measured column width as the number of characters in the standard font that would fit on a single line in that column. This value was determined by using the average width of the ten digits 0 through 9 in that font. Excel now uses standard measurement units, such as inches, to establish column widths, row heights, and the graduations of the horizontal and vertical sheet rulers.
You can change the default units for the rulers.
Note: If you don't see the rulers on your sheet, on the View menu, click Page Layout. Then, on the View menu, click Ruler.
On the Excel menu, click Preferences.
Under Authoring, click General .
On the Ruler units pop-up menu, click the unit of measurement that you want to use.
Tip: You can still measure the column width in terms of number of standard font character units by dragging the column separator on the sheet and observing the ScreenTips as you drag. In the ScreenTip, the first number after Width is the width of the column in character units. If you don't see the ScreenTip, on the View menu, point to Toolbars, and then click Customize Toolbars and Menus. On the Toolbars and Menus tab, select the Show ScreenTips for toolbar commands check box.