How to Start a New Line in an Excel Cell

Key Takeaways

  • Use Alt + Enter to start a new line in Excel cells and maintain control over where the new line begins.
  • Utilize the Wrap Text feature in Excel to automatically adjust the text within the cell and ensure visibility.
  • Choose between entering line breaks manually for control or wrapping content for easy visibility in large spreadsheets.

Are you struggling to fit all the content within the same cell in Excel? Instead of readjusting the cell size every time you add new data, you should start a new line in your spreadsheet. There are multiple ways to insert a new line in Excel, but we’ll show you two of the easiest methods.

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How to Start a New Line in an Excel Cell

If you edit documents in a text editor such as Word or Google Docs, you might be used to pressing Enter to enter a new line. However, in Excel, pressing Enter will move your cursor to the next cell.

Of course, you can edit Excel keyboard shortcuts to start a new line by pressing Enter, but there’s an easier way. You just need an extra key or Excel tool to keep your spreadsheets looking smooth.

Using the Alt + Enter Shortcut in Excel

Add a new line in Excel with a keyboard shortcut

The easiest way to start a new line in Excel is to press Alt + Enter. Make sure you place the cursor where you want to enter the new line. If you’re using Excel on Mac, you’ll have to use the Option + Return keyboard shortcut.

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Using the Wrap Text Feature in Excel

How to wrap text in Excel

If you want Excel to align the text for you within the cell automatically, you can use the Wrap Text feature. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Select the Home tab and locate the Alignment tab.
  2. Select the cells, rows, or columns where you want to apply the Wrap Text feature.
  3. Click on Wrap Text within the Alignment group. This will adjust the text to fit within the width of the cell.
    • Note that you may need to manually resize the cell if the text doesn’t fit as desired.

For a quicker method, you can also use the keyboard shortcut Alt + H + W to apply the Wrap Text feature for the selected cells.

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Using Actual Line Breaks vs. Wrapping Content in Excel

The difference between entering line breaks and wrapping content is that, with line breaks, you decide where to start a new line, whereas with wrapping, Excel automatically determines where to start a new line. Also, by wrapping the content, Excel will display the entire cell content.

If you’re starting an Excel spreadsheet from scratch, entering new lines with Alt + Enter will give you more control. But if someone sends you a large spreadsheet, we recommend selecting all cells and clicking Wrap Text, so you don’t miss anything. Adding new lines within Excel cells is a great way to keep all relevant information visible.

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