Quick Tip: Add a Manual Line Break

SUMMARY: A keyboard shortcut to manually add a line break inside a cell.

If you have a lot of text that needs to be placed inside a cell in a Microsoft Excel 2010 workbook, you could decrease the size of the font to fit more text inside, but do so too much and the text will become ineligible. You could increase the cell width, but this affects every cell in the column. And you could merge neighbor cells together so the text flows automatically to the right, but depending on your layout this may not be feasible.

Or, one other option is to wrap the text in a cell. But pressing ENTER while typing data into a cell moves the cell pointer down, so how can this be done?

When you need to manually wrap text in a cell, press ALT+ENTER. Note that there is still a downside to this technique as text wrapping increases the height of the current cell – as well as all cells on the same row. Depending on your layout this may not be a desirable effect.

Example of wrapping text in a cell in an Excel 2010 workbook

To edit a multi-line cell, click on the up and down arrows near the right side of Excel 2010’s Formula Bar as shown in the screenshot below (these only appear on multi-line cells). These arrows move up or down a line in the cell.

Or, click the down-pointed arrow directly to the right of these other arrows to expand the size of the Formula Bar. Pressing CTRL+SHIFT+U also toggles expanding the size of the Formula Bar.