How to Wrap Text in MS Excel

Learning how to wrap text in Excel is a great way to format text in a cell, so it doesn’t take up your entire window. It’s one of those subtle quirks from Excel that affect how your data is displayed. Having a clear view of your dataset on Excel improves readability, efficiency, and helps reduce errors.

There are a few ways to go about text wrapping cells in Excel. 

2 Ways to Wrap Text In Excel

  • Wrapping Text automatically through a format setting
  • Manually adding a line break at each cell

We will cover both methods and guide you through the step-by-step instructions below. Along the way, we will also answer questions you may have so we can clear any confusion regarding how you can do this.

This article was written with beginners in mind, so you don’t need to know any technical knowledge before proceeding with this tutorial.

Let’s get started.


What Is Wrap Text In Excel?

If you don’t have a spreadsheet that’s covered in cells that overlap each other, then learning how to wrap text in Excel might not be an urgent skill for you. Nonetheless, wrapping text is a powerful tool that you should learn. Doing so will give your readers and you a wonderful time as you read through the spreadsheet.

You’ve probably tried to expand a column’s width sideways just to make a lengthy line of text fit properly in your cell. Unfortunately, this can lead to really wide spreadsheets that are hard to navigate around and keep track of. That’s where wrapping your texts in Excel can be a lifesaver! By using the wrap text feature, your cell will automatically display the entire text within the limited column width.

Being a great accountant or virtual assistant requires technical and mathematical expertise. Despite that, it would be useless to have both these skills if your client cannot understand your messy spreadsheet. With that being said, when should you wrap text in Excel?

Here’s a good rule of thumb that you can follow:

  • If you don’t want your text to overlap to the next cell to the right.
  • If your text gets cut at the cell border and you want to see the entire text with the cell expanding downward instead.
  • If you want to move text a line below even if you haven’t touched the cell border yet.

We understand that there are other personal design choices and reasons that cause you to wrap text your cells in Excel. Don’t feel obligated to wrap text your cells just because it fits with the rules above. At the end of the day, we only want your spreadsheet to be readable by your clients or partners. 

With that said, here are the two ways that you can wrap text in Excel!


Method 1: Using The Wrap Text Function

This method will allow you to wrap your text automatically in each of the cells you configure. Doing this will make Excel wrap your text regardless of the size and for all future uses. We recommend this method for most of your general needs when wrapping text. 

Now, let’s go over the steps for this method.

Step 1: Open up your Excel file.

First, we will need an Excel file where we can use the wrap text feature. Open the Excel file that you’d like to configure by double-clicking the document from the folder where it’s located. 

Alternatively, you can also open up MS Excel and select a black workbook just so you can have a test file. This would be a better option for those of you who don’t have an Excel file but would just like to edit. 

Step 2: Populate the cell you want to format.

Now, you’ll want to populate the cell that needs to be text wrapped. You can do this by simply left-click on the cell to select it and typing in a couple of test words. In this article, we’ll be using ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’ as the example. 

For those of you who have already opened an existing Excel file, you can bypass this step and move on to the next one. 

Go to C6 cell and type in ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’. You’ll immediately notice that words will overlap onto the next empty cells to the right of C6. 

Step 3: Highlight the cell you want to wrap text.

Once you’ve populated the cell or have a cell that already has a lot of texts in it, it’s time to select it for formatting. You can do this by left-clicking on the cell block that you want to text wrap. A clear indicator, such as a green border around the cell, will show when you’ve successfully highlighted the cell block.

Step 4: Click on the Wrap Text function. 

While you’ve highlighted the cell, move your mouse to the top-left corner of the Excel window. Look for the ‘Wrap Text’ button and simply left-click that feature to enable text wrapping for the specific cell that you’ve highlighted. 

The highlighted cell should now look like this.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully wrapped the text of the cell block that was overlapping other cells. Now, here’s how you can do this process with multiple cells. 

Step 5: Select and highlight multiple cell blocks.

The secret to formatting a lot of cell blocks at once is to select multiple cells at the same time. This way, any formatting or features applied will affect all the cell blocks. You can do this in two ways:

  • Hold down the left-click on a particular cell block and drag it across the spreadsheet. 
  • Click on a cell and press Shift while moving with the arrow keys on your keyboard. You can also press Ctrl + Shift simultaneously while pressing on the arrow keys to move to highlight an entire row or column.

Once you’ve highlighted all the necessary cells, you can go ahead and click on the Wrap Text button at the top-left corner of your screen. This will apply the wrap text feature to all the cells you’ve just highlighted!


Method 2: Doing A Manual Line Break

The next method you can do is to use line breaks to wrap text. This method is suitable if you want to control the specific position where the new line should start. Unlike the automatic wrap text as shown in the previous method, this method lets you precisely adjust the line break. 

Let’s go over the steps on how you can do this.

Step 1: Open up your Excel file.

If you still have MS Excel open from the previous method, then you’ll need to open it now to proceed with the steps below. Open the Excel file that you’d like to edit. You can do this by double-clicking the document or opening it through the Start menu search. 

On the other hand, you can also open up MS Excel and start from there. A blank spreadsheet works well enough as a test file, if you don’t have any Excel sheets at the ready. 

Step 2: Highlight the cell you want to format. 

With your Excel document open, double click on the cell you want to wrap text. We will use the same example as was used in Method 1. Go to Cell C6 and type in ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’. You should see that the words will overlap onto the next empty cells to the right of C6. 

Step 3: Place cursor at the location of the line break. 

To insert a line break, place your cursor at the position where you would like the line to break. We will choose to do this after the colon ‘:’ used in the text. 

Step 4: Press Alt + Enter keys. 

Finally, press the Alt and Enter keys together to add the line break. As a result, you should see the line break occur with the terms ‘Star Wars:’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ in different lines. 

It’s worth noting that inserting a manual line break does automatically trigger the Wrap Text option in the menu. This is not a cause for worry as you still maintain your manual line break. However, the key difference is that the formatting will stay in place even if you decide to make the column wider. 


Conclusion

Now that you’ve reached the end of this article, hopefully, we’ve helped you figure out how to wrap text in Excel. Here’s a brief summary of all the steps we walked through.

Wrapping text in MS Excel lets the cell block display the entire line of text without overlapping on the cells beside it. You can do this automatically or manually by personally applying a line break in the text.

We hope you found this article helpful!

Learn how to warp text in Google Sheets.

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