Insert a New Line in an Excel Cell

Enter a New Line

If you want to insert a new line (line break) when typing into an Excel cell, the simplest way is to:

  1. Position the curser in the cell, at the point where you want the new line to be inserted.

  2. Press the keyboard shortcut:

    Alt + Enter

    I.e. press the Alt key and while holding this down, press the Enter (or Return) key.

    Press Alt-Return to Insert a New Line in an Excel Cell

Use Formulas to Insert a New Line

When working with Excel formulas you can insert a new line into an Excel cell using the Excel Char function. The line break character is represented by character number 10. Therefore, a new line can be inserted into a cell using the function:

CHAR( 10 )

The example below uses the & operator and the Char function to insert a line break between two text strings:

1 ="John Smith" & CHAR( 10 ) & "3 Carlton Road"
1 John Smith
3 Carlton Road

Formatting Cells to Display a New Line

For a new line to be displayed in an Excel cell, the Wrap Text option must be enabled. In recent versions of Excel (2007 and later), this can be controlled by the Wrap Text button, which is located in the 'Alignment' group of the Home tab of the Excel ribbon (see below).

Excel Wrap Text Button
Excel Wrap Text Option in the Format Cells Dialog Box
Wrap Text Check Box in 'Format Cells' Dialog Box:

The Wrap Text option can also be controlled from within the Format Cells dialog box. Therefore, if you have an older versions of Excel, which does not have the shortcut button, you can wrap text as follows:

For more information on the Wrap Text option, see the Wrap-Text-In-Excel page.