Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Indenting Cell Contents.

Indenting Cell Contents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 8, 2014)

3

Excel allows you to format the contents of a cell in a myriad of ways. One of the formatting options you can apply is to indent the contents of a cell by a certain amount. This is similar to indenting done in a word processor, such as Microsoft Word, except that the indenting is specified in a number of characters, not in a linear distance such as inches or points.

To set the indent to be used in a cell, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cells you want to format.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the small icon at the lower-right of the Alignment group. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box with the Alignment tab selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  5. In the Horizontal drop-down list, choose Left (Indent) or Right (Indent), depending on whether you want to indent from the left or right.
  6. Using the Indent control, specify the number of characters by which the cell contents should be indented from either the left or right side of the cell. You can pick any whole number between 0 and 15.
  7. Click on OK.

Note in step 4 that you can choose either a left or right indent. You cannot, however, indent from both the left and right, like you can with a word processor. You can only choose to indent from the left or the right.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6120) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Indenting Cell Contents.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing an Existing Style

Excel allows you to create styles that define how your data looks. At some point you may want to change a style you ...

Discover More

Changing the Height of Worksheet Tabs

Do you need your worksheet tabs to be taller than what they are? You can't make the adjustment in Excel, but you can make it ...

Discover More

Checking for Missing Quotation Marks

Word provides handy spelling and grammar checkers. The grammar checker won't catch everything, however. One thing it won't ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Using an Exact Number of Digits

Excel allows you to format numeric data in all sorts of ways, but specifying a number of digits independent of the decimal ...

Discover More

Stopping Fractions from Reducing

Enter a fraction into Excel, and you may be surprised that the program reduces the faction to its simplest form. If you want ...

Discover More

Changing Cell Colors

If you need to change the color with which a particular cell is filled, the easier method is to use the Fill Color tool, as ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 + 4?

2015-11-10 09:02:12

Marcus Lang

Thanks Glenn

I used your version and it was really easy to make it work.

Regards,


2015-06-15 05:50:13

Alan Pink

You say, "Note in step 4 that you can choose either a left or right indent. You cannot, however, indent from both the left and right, like you can with a word processor. You can only choose to indent from the left or the right."
Excel 2010 has an option, Distributed (Indent) that applies the same indent to left and right simultaneously.


2014-11-11 09:02:37

Glenn Case

Okay, I'm continually amazed at what I don't know about Excel even after several years of working with it. I have always just added spaces to indent, which is not efficient, and which creates "untrimmed" text. Thanks for the tip!

I have used this to create a quick macro so I can assign a button to my QAT to do this with a single click. Here it is:

Sub Indent()
With Selection
.IndentLevel = 2
End With
End Sub

Be aware that if you do this with a macro, you can't undo it with Undo. You can, however, use an UnIndent macro to do that:

Sub UnIndent()
With Selection
.IndentLevel = 0
End With
End Sub


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.