Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Understanding Cell Indenting.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 20, 2017)
When you think of indenting information, you normally think of a word processor. It is not unusual to indent paragraphs or specific lines of information on the screen. Excel, while definitely not a word processor, allows you to easily indent information within a cell.
To set the indent to be used in a cell, display the Home tab of the ribbon. Note that there are two indent tools in the Alignment group. Clicking these two tools will move the indent of the cell either to the right or back toward the left.
If you want even greater control over cell indenting, follow these steps:
Figure 1. The Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box.
You should also know that Excel allows you to indent from either the left or right of the cell. If you use the Horizontal drop-down list (in the Format Cells dialog box), you can choose Left (Indent) or Right (Indent) alignment. The number you specify in the Indent control (step 4) applies to either left or right indenting, depending on your choice in the Horizontal drop-down list.
If you have set up a cell so that text wraps within the cell, then indentation affects all the lines of text within the cell—not just the first line.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9425) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Understanding Cell Indenting.
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