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: Adjusting Cell Margins for More White Space.

Adjusting Cell Margins for More White Space

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 7, 2015)

1

Serena asked if there is a way to adjust the text margins with a cell so that there is more white space within a cell. The answer is that there is no intrinsic Excel command to add more space, as you can do in Word tables or with the CELLPADDING attribute in an HTML table. However, there is a way you can accomplish the desired goal, although it is somewhat more manual in nature. Follow these general steps:

  1. Select the cell you want to adjust.
  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.
  4. Make sure the Alignment tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  6. Using the Horizontal drop-down list, choose Center.
  7. Using the Vertical drop-down list, choose Center.
  8. Click on OK.
  9. Adjust your column width to leave the desired white space on both sides of the cell contents.
  10. Adjust your row height to leave the desired white space above and below the cell contents.

The drawback to this approach, of course, is that it affects the width of not just one cell, but of the entire column and row. In addition, your numbers will not line up properly—on the decimal point—if you choose to center horizontally. The way around this last issue is to still center the contents horizontally, but use a custom number format for the cells, as follows:

[???,??0.00;-??,??0.00]

The question marks in the format forces Excel to leave space as if there were a digit, even if there isn't.

You cannot change the vertical white space without adjusting row height. There is, however, one thing you can try if you want to change the horizontal white space: Adjust the indent value used in a cell. All you need to do is display the Format Cells dialog box and set the indent on the Alignment tab. You can adjust either the left or right indent (check out the Horizontal drop-down list), but not both.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11498) 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: Adjusting Cell Margins for More White Space.

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

Rotating a Drawing Object

You can add all sorts of drawing objects to a document. Once placed, you can then rotate them to your heart's content. This ...

Discover More

Automatically Hiding the Personal Workbook

If you leave your Personal.xls workbook visible from one Excel session to another, you may find that you unwittingly make ...

Discover More

Correcting Student Papers

If you are a teacher, you may be looking for ways you can use Word's features to correct papers your students send to you ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Checking All Cell Formatting in VBA

When your macro checks the formatting used for a cell, it needs to be careful that the type of formatting being checked is ...

Discover More

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 that ...

Discover More

Hiding Individual Cells

Hiding information in one or more cells can be a challenge. This tip presents several different techniques that can help 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 + 6?

2015-11-09 01:26:11

N. Kadkhodaei

Hi Dear
In excel 2007 cell alignment indent adjustment works horizontally for both right and left sides.
The other way is to leave a blank cell to sides we like to have spaces. we can format cell borders to seem as a single cell with indented margins.
Thank You.


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.