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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Printing and Exiting Word in a Macro

When you print a document, Word remains busy in the background until the printing is done. If you try to end the program ...

Discover More

Out of Memory Errors when Accessing the VBA Editor

It can be frustrating when you get error messages doing something that you previously did with no errors. If you get an ...

Discover More

Moving the Taskbar to a Different Edge of the Screen

The Taskbar is normally displayed along the bottom edge of the screen. Windows gives you the flexibility to decide where ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Locking the Background Color

You can spend a lot of time getting the formatting in your worksheets just right. If you want to protect an element of ...

Discover More

Replacing Cell Formats

Need to replace the formats applied to some cells with a different format? You can use Excel's Find and Replace tool to ...

Discover More

Setting a Default Date Format

Enter a date into a cell, and Excel allows you to format that date in a variety of ways. Don't see the date format you ...

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. 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 7 + 4?

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.


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.