Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. 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 January 18, 2020)

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.
  7. Click on OK.

Note in step 4 that you can also choose Distributed (Indent) if you want to indent the same number of characters from both the left and the right.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6120) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. 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

Displaying a Message in the Status Bar

A great place for your macro to display status information is, well, in the status bar. Displaying the information is ...

Discover More

Starting with a Different Template

Don't want Word to start by using the Normal.dot template? This tip explains how to start using a different template.

Discover More

Understanding Column Widths

Ever wonder why column widths are expressed in characters? The answer is rooted in history, as discussed in this tip.

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Merge and Center Not Available

What are you to do if you are trying to format a worksheet, only to find out that one of the tools you need is not ...

Discover More

Setting Cell Color Based on Numeric Values

Excel allows you to specify colors for the interior of cells in your worksheet. If you want those colors to be set ...

Discover More

Enforcing a Desired Font

If your workbooks are shared and used by a number of different people, you may end up with some formatting in those ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 nine minus 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.