How to wrap text in Excel

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We can manipulate large volumes of text in a single cell using the Excel Wrap text feature. In this tutorial, we will explore how to wrap text and unwrap text automatically, as well as insert a line break in our text wrap. We will also learn how to fix common challenges that may fail to wrap text.

Figure 1 – How to wrap text in excel

How to Ensure Text Automatically Wraps Around Excel

When we wish to force a long text string into a single column automatically, we may use one of these two methods:

  • We can select the cells and Navigate the Home tab to the Alignment group, and tap the Wrap Text button.

Figure 2 – Text wrap in excel

  • We can equally select the cells and click Ctrl + 1 to redirect to the Format Cells dialog. Now, we will switch to the Alignment Tab and check the excel text wrap box. Click OK.

Figure 3 – Automatically wrap text in excel

How to Unwrap Text in Excel

We can easily unwrap text in Excel using two methods like the previous section:

  • We select the cells, go to the Home tab, then Alignment Group and unselect the Wrap text button
  • We will select the cells, press Ctrl +1, go to the Format Cells Dialog and unmark the Wrap text box in the Alignment tab.

Figure 4 – Unwrap text using the Format Cells Dialog

How to Insert a Line Break Manually

When we insert a manual line break, we turn on the text wrap option automatically. We may wish to start a new line at a specific position rather than automatically wrap text. To enter line break manually:

  • We press F2 to enter cell edit mode, or click on the formula bar or double-click on the cell.

Figure 5 – Insert line break to wrap cells in excel

  • Next, we place our cursor where we wish to break the line and press Alt + Enter.

Figure 6 – Excel text wrap

How to Fix the Excel text wrap Not Working

Here are some common scenarios where the Excel wrap text feature fails and how to correct them.

Fixed Row Height

Our text may not wrap if we have fixed the row to a certain height. We can fix this problem by:

  • Selecting the cell with the issue
  • Navigate to the Home Tab, then the Cells Group
  • We will click format and select AutoFit Row height

Figure 7- Fix Auto height problem

Merged Cells

We cannot use the Excel Wrap text for merged cells, so we need to decide whether we want to merge cells or wrap text. If we want to keep the merged cells function, we can make the column wider. When we decide to wrap text, we must unmerge cells by clicking Merge & Center in the Alignment group in the Home tab.

Figure 8 – Unmerge cell to wrap columns in excel

Have a wide cell to display value

When we have a wide cell that already fits properly with our data, it becomes difficult to wrap text even when we resize the column. To force the excel wrap text feature in that cell, we will turn the Excel Wrap Text button off and then turn it off again.

Explanations

We use the Excel text wrapping function when the data input in a cell is too large to fit.  Typically, our data may extend over the cell border into the column to the right if it is empty. On the flip side, our text string may be cut off at the cell border if the adjacent cell contains data.  

Figure 9A – Text enters the next column

Figure 9B– Next Column Text truncates Cell 3A

However, with the Excel wrap text feature, our text will be displayed fully without overflowing into the next cell.

Figure 10 – Excel text wrap in a cell