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: Understanding Cell Indenting.

Understanding Cell Indenting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 4, 2019)

2

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:

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

  5. Using the Indent control, specify the number of characters by which the cell contents should be indented. You can pick any whole number between 0 and 15.
  6. Click on OK.

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, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Understanding Cell Indenting.

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. ...

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Comments

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What is four less than 8?

2019-05-08 04:13:33

SteveJez

David,
If you can use VBA / macros then you could use this piece of code

Sub bulletlist()

Dim c As Range

For Each c In Selection
c.Value = Chr(149) & " " & c.Value
Next c
Selection.InsertIndent 2

End Sub

You can change the amount of indent by experimenting with changing the number on the end of Selection.InsertIndent 2
if you have to use this on a number of files, place this in your personal workbook or even create an addin.

If you have numeric data you can use Custom number format & styles to create whatever you want.

Hope this helps.

Steve


2019-05-07 11:52:43

David Allen

Regarding indenting in cells, I frequently have to include lists within cells especially when I'm drawing up Action Plans. However there doesn't seem to be any way of including bulleted or numbered lists. I have to resort to putting a dot followed by spaces or indent, then the text. This doesn't really look right, especially as there doesn't seem to be any way to include a hanging indent. Any advice would be welcome.


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