Wrapping Text in Excel: How to Wrap Text within Cells

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  • 0:01 Wrapping Text
  • 1:19 The Format Cells Command
  • 2:30 Formatting to Wrap Text
  • 4:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

What if you could convert a long line of text entered on a spreadsheet to multiple lines? It would fit better for printing and be easier to read. This lesson will guide you through formatting cells to accommodate wrapped text.

Wrapping Text

Excel is often used to create spreadsheets using numbers. However, you may find yourself needing to add large amounts of text. For instance, you may have created a list of your friends that will receive Christmas cards this year. You have the basic information such as name and address, but you might also want to create a column for a note or comment. Maybe your friends travel and tend to be in different places, different times of the year. You may need to add a comment to their information detailing their schedule and travel plans, so you know where to send the card.

Wrapping text means you want your text to appear on multiple lines, rather than one long line of text. This allows you to keep the column width to a manageable size and consistent throughout your spreadsheet. Otherwise, you might need a cell that is 100 characters wide in order to fit the comment.

Excel has a feature that allows you to format a cell so that the text will be automatically converted to multiple lines, once the column width boundaries have been exceeded. You can also use the wrap text feature to control the way your header titles are displayed. This lesson will introduce you to the feature and demonstrate how to format cells to automatically format your text to display using multiple lines.

The Format Cells Command

There are two ways to access the Format Cells command, you can use the Ribbon or right-click. Let's take a look at using the ribbon commands.

  1. Go to the Home menu in the ribbon.
  2. Look in the Cells grouping of commands.
  3. Click on Format to expand the options menu.
  4. Select Format Cells (it's at the bottom of the list).

When the Format Cells dialogue box opens, it can be a bit intimidating. But no worries. These are simple options that allow us to change the way our text and numbers are displayed. You will see six tabs across the top of our dialogue box: Numbers, Alignment, Font, Border, Fill and Protection. In our lesson, we will focus on the Alignment properties. If you prefer the right-click method, you can place your cursor in the cell you want to format, right-click and choose Format Cells from the drop-down menu.

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