Wrap Text in Excel

By default, if the content of an Excel cell is too long fit in a cell, one of two things will happen. Either the text string will be displayed over the top of the adjacent cells, or, if the adjacent cells contain values, the displayed text will be cut off at the cell boundary.

These two cases are shown below:

Examples of Text That is Not Wrapped in Excel Cells

Therefore, you may sometimes want to wrap text in Excel cells, in order to fully display long text strings:

Example of Wrapped Text in Excel

This is done by enabling the Excel Wrap Text option.

Enabling the Wrap Text Option

In order to wrap text in one or more cells, first select the cell(s) that you want to wrap, then enable the Wrap Text option for the selected cells using one of the following methods:

Method 1:

Click on the Wrap Text option, which is located in the 'Alignment' group of the Home tab of the Excel ribbon (see below).

Wrap Text Button on the Excel Ribbon

Method 2:

The Wrap Text option can also be accessed via the 'Format Cells' dialog box. This method works in all versions of Excel, including older versions that do not have the Excel ribbon.

  • Open the 'Format Cells' dialog box by either:

    Dialog Box Launcher in the Number Group of the Excel Ribbon
    • Clicking on the dialog box launcher in the 'Number' grouping, on the Home tab of the Excel ribbon (see rightabove)
    • Using the mouse to right click on the selected cell(s) and then selecting Format Cells... from the right-click menu
    • Using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + 1   (i.e. press the Ctrl key and while holding this down press 1).
  • Wrap Text Check Box in 'Format Cells' Dialog Box:
    Excel Wrap Text Option in the Format Cells Dialog Box

    Within the 'Format Cells' dialog box:

    • Select the Alignment tab.
    • Check the box next to the Wrap text option;
    • Click OK to close the dialog box.

Forcing Line Breaks at Specific Points

You can also cause the Wrap Text option to be enabled on by forcing a line break at a specific location in an Excel cell.

To do this:

Enter Line Break in Excel Formula Bar

Resizing Cells with Wrapped Text

If you wrap text in a single Excel cell, depending on your settings, the height of the cell may or may not automatically adjust, to show the whole of the wrapped text.

Automatically Adjust Row Height in Excel

If the cell height does not automatically adjust, you can force it to do this by double clicking on the row labels at the left hand side of the spreadsheet.

For example, to auto-adjust the height of row 1, double click on the line between rows 1 and 2 of the spreadsheet, in the row label area at the left of the spreadsheet.

Resizing Merged Cells with Wrapped Text

Note that the auto-sizing of cells does not work with merged cells. If you have wrapped text in a merged cell, you will need to resize the cell manually, by dragging the bar between the row labels to the desired height.