From the manual:

C-c TAB (org-table-toggle-column-width)

Shrink or expand current column.

If a width cookie specifies a width W for the column, shrinking it 
displays the first W visible characters only. Otherwise, the column is
shrunk to a single character.

When called before the first column or after the last one, ask for a list of column ranges to operate on.


| foo                                     | bar         |
| <10> |
| foooooooooooo                           | barrrrr     |
| fooo                                    | barrrrrrrrr |
| foooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo | barrr       |

If I do C-c TAB, it does not shrink and I get the message "Before first heading" in the echo area. But if I do TAB, the first column shrinks. If I do TAB again, the cursor moves the next cell. If I do C-c TAB, it does not expand and I get the message "Before first heading" in the echo area.

Bottom line: I can shrink, not expand.


I can reproduce what you describe with org-mode 9.1.9. C-c TAB works like it is expected with org-mode 9.2.3.

In org-mode 9.1.19 C.c TAB runs outline-show-children while in 9.2.3 it runs org-ctrl-c-tab with the following description:

Toggle columns width in a table, or show children. Call org-table-toggle-column-width if point is in a table. Otherwise, call org-show-children.

So, if you really want to get org-table-toggle-column-width working update to the org-version of org-mode or to the version at the gnu elpa package archive.

Org mode 9.2 was the first official version where org-ctrl-c-tab was bound to C-c TAB.

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