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Create a line break in Excel

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Create a line break in Excel

If Excel tables are used with cells that have a lot of content , the Microsoft application usually shows a part of it and hides the rest by default. This happens whenever the size of the text or figures that have been entered exceeds the specified width of the cell and the cell next to it is not empty..

The entire content can be viewed by double-clicking the cell in question, or by selecting the cell to read the content in the edit bar, but these methods are not entirely practical. It is much more elegant to integrate a line break in the cell, thus displaying the content in several lines. Here we explain how to add these line breaks in an Excel cell and what problems can arise during this process.

  1. How to set line break in Excel cells
  2. How to force a manual line break in Excel
  3. Line break in Excel cells not working: how to fix the problem
    1. Solution 1: clear the fixed line height value
    2. Solution 2: split merged cells

How to set line break in Excel cells

To add line breaks in Excel, the simplest solution is to use the automatic jump function. This function can be activated for all desired fields in the table. Thus, the spreadsheet program automatically divides the content of the fields in this format into several lines , so that all the content is always displayed..

For Excel to automatically set paragraphs into cells, it only takes a few steps: first, click the left mouse button to mark the field where the automatic line break should be set. This can also be done if you want to select several fields , for which you must hold down the left mouse button and then move the mouse through the desired fields. Alternatively, you can hold down the [CTRL] key and then select the different table fields by pressing the left mouse button:

Excel immediately identifies the fields that have been selected with a green frame.

Next, open the tab? Home? (as long as it hasn't been opened yet) and click the button? Text wrapping ? (Wrap Text) from the category? Alignment ?:

As an alternative to the indicated procedures, you can also use the key combination [CTRL] + [1] and place a check mark on? Line break? to activate cell break in Excel.

Based on our example document, the output looks like this:

The set point for automatic line break in Excel fields is always the specified column width.

How to force a manual line break in Excel

In many cases it is recommended to specify Excel to jump into a cell at a certain point in order, for example, to group certain content elements directly below each other. For this, the Microsoft program has prepared the appropriate tool: the manual jump function. In order to use it, the edit mode of the line in question must be opened . This is accomplished in two ways:

  • Double-clicking on the cell.
  • Selecting the cell by clicking the left mouse button and pressing the [F2] key or clicking in the formula bar .

Place the cursor at the point where Excel should take the line break in the cell and press the [Alt] + [Enter] key combination . The Alt key must always be held down .

Use this combination twice when you want to directly add a second line break and therefore an entire paragraph in the Excel cell (in the strict sense of the word, it is actually two line breaks):

If manual line break is used in an Excel field, automatic line break for that cell is also activated at the same time.

Line break in Excel cells not working: how to fix the problem

If we take into account the previous instructions, the process to insert a line break in Excel is not excessively complicated. However, in some cases, the line break functions explained above do not have the expected effect. This often happens when working with external Excel documents : most of the time, problems are due to existing formats that prevent long content blocks from being displayed optimally. In many cases, the reason why the newline does not work the way you want is related to the function? Merge cells ? and entering a fixed value for the maximum line height ..

Solution 1: clear the fixed line height value

In many cases, Excel appears to correctly perform the line break in a cell, but it does not display the entire content of that cell . The reason for this problem is that the author of the document has specified a fixed size for the line height, so Excel hides some of the content despite the line break. This problem can be solved in a few steps:

  1. Open the tab? File ?.
  2. Click the left or right mouse button to mark the cell that is causing problems.
  3. Click? Format ? available in the category? Cells ?.
  4. Select the menu option? Auto adjust row height ?.
If the option? Auto-adjust row height? is on, then Excel adjusts the height of a line automatically to the content of the selected cell.

Solution 2: split merged cells

In Excel you cannot execute a line break in those cells that are combined. If manual or automatic skipping doesn't work either, the selected Excel field may be a combination of cells . In case you want to add a line break in that Excel cell, then you will need to split those combined cells first.


If you want to keep the combination of cells, the line break can be used by manually adjusting the line height and column width.

The division of a combination of Excel cells is done as follows:

  1. Open the tab? Home ?.
  2. Click the left or right mouse button to select the cell combination.
  3. In the category? Alignment? click on the little triangle icon next to? Merge and center? and then click? Separate cells ?.
  4. If the merged cells have been selected by clicking the right mouse button, you can also press the menu option? Cell format ? and then clear the check mark in the "Merge cells" box.
After splitting the merged cells, a manual or automatic line break can be added by following the known steps.