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: Automatically Breaking Text.

Automatically Breaking Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 19, 2015)


Have you ever had a string in a cell that you wanted to wrap after every word? The normal way of doing this would be to press F2 and edit the string. You would delete each space and then press Alt+Enter to add a new line character.

There's an easier, less manual method of doing this, however—just use the SUBSTITUTE function. Suppose cell A1 contained "This is my text." Enter the following into another cell:


What this results in is the text of cell A1 with small boxes where the spaces were. Turn on wrapping for the cell (done in the Format Cells dialog box) and each word appears on a different line, just as you wanted.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11233) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Automatically Breaking Text.

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. ...


Changing AutoFilter Drop-Down Arrow Colors

The drop-down arrow used at the top of columns by AutoFilter can be difficult to see. Here's a way you can reduce the ...

Discover More

Moving Subtotals

When you add subtotals to a worksheet, Excel typically places them in the same column that you are subtotaling. If you ...

Discover More

Turning Off Paragraph Hyphenation

Need to make sure that a particular paragraph never has any hyphenated words in it? You can make sure that Word 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)

Counting Words

Do you need to know how many words are in a range of cells? Excel provides no intrinsic way to count the words, but you ...

Discover More

Entering Info into Multiple Cells

Want to make an entry of the same value into a group of selected cells? It's easy to do with just one small change in how ...

Discover More

AutoFilling Numbers with a Trailing Period

The AutoFill tool is very handy when it comes to quickly filling cells with a sequence of values. Sometimes, however, it ...

Discover More

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

View most recent newsletter.


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 five less than 8?

2015-09-19 06:38:50

Krishna Kumar N

Just when you think you know something about Excel, you produce such a simple tip but that is immensely valuable! Makes you wonder what one really knows! Thanks for the great tip

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

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.