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I can think of a couple of ways to accomplish this. Neither is particularly difficult but both will require hand tweaking each topic.
Method one: Use an invisible table
With this approach you basically select all the content in the topic and cut it to the Windows Clipboard. You then insert a single cell table and configure the width as desired. Then hide all borders so it doesn't show. Then paste the content back in.
Method two: Use some HTML code
With this approach you edit each topic to insert a DIV tag that sets the width of everything that follows. You would insert a closing DIV tag at the end of the topic.
Below is a sample:
<div style="width: 400px; position: fixed;">
Topic content here
Hopefully this helps... Rick
Thanks Rick. Editing each topic individually is a daunting task considering I have thousands of topics. But I appreciate the advise. I guess I will just fix the ones with the particularly messy tables.
I use a lot of tables. Try setting a table to "autofit to contents" (right-click in table and select autofit). Then play with the TOC width in the resultant CHM. The topic pane gets smaller but there are scroll bars.