How to change the column width in Excel for Mac 2011 to characters instead of inches?

changing the excel column width in the Office 2011 for Macintosh states that it comes up listed as characters but my excel software shows as inches. How can I change it to characters?
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  • Apologies for the confusion on this topic. In Office 2011 for Macintosh: The Missing Manual the menu-by-menu appendix (page 678) says that column width is measured by character. That's not true when you use the column width dialog box. However, when you resize a column by dragging the column separater as shown in this image, it displays the width in characters and inches.

    The character count is based on the default font size. You can set that size in Excel->Preferences->General. If you manually change the font size for a particular cell, the character count that's shown when you resize a column width is not accurate.

    When change column width is by going Home->Cells->Format->Column Width, a dialog box appears, that initially use inches as a measurement. You can change this to millimeters or centimeters, but you can't change it to characters. If you want to go metric, go Excel->Preferences->General->Ruler units and make the change. As you might guess, this also changes the units displayed on the ruler above your worksheet.
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