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: Changing Character Spacing.

Changing Character Spacing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 28, 2021)

2

Alfred wonders if there is a way to increase spacing between characters in a cell. He is not talking about spacing between cells, but between characters in a single cell.

The short answer is that you can't do this. Word lets you adjust this type of spacing, but Excel does not. For that reason, you may want to import your Excel data into Word as a table and make the advanced character formatting changes there.

If that is not possible, then the only thing you can do in Excel is try to apply a few workarounds. One such workaround is to play with the font used for your characters. You might try different fonts that use different character spacing; this could take quite a bit of trial and error to find the font that is right for your needs.

Another possible approach is to use different, contrasting fonts within a cell. For instance, if you alternate the formatting of sequential characters between Arial and Arial Narrow, you may end up with the spacing you want.

The only other option is to add characters between existing cell characters. For instance, you could add a space between each character in the cell and then format those spaces to a font size that gives the desired overall appearance. You could also insert thin spaces, which is done using the Symbol dialog box.

Remember that when you insert extra spaces between characters in a cell, it changes what is actually stored in a cell. Thus, your numeric values will start being treated as text by Excel and formulas that rely upon a certain character sequence will no longer work (because you've changed the sequence of the characters in the cell).

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12474) 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: Changing Character Spacing.

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

Setting Line Spacing in the Equation Editor

The Equation Editor can be a great boon when you need to include complex mathematical equations in your document. The ...

Discover More

Inserting from the Clip Art Gallery Doesn't Work

Ever insert a picture and it won't display in your document? It could be due to some of the display settings in Word. ...

Discover More

Adding Tabs at the Beginning of a Line

Press a tab at the beginning of a paragraph, and Word normally assumes you want to indent the paragraph. If you don'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)

Changing the Percent Symbol

Some symbols can be easily changed in Excel or in Windows, such as the symbols used for currency and to separate ...

Discover More

Defeating Automatic Date Parsing

Excel is continually trying to figure out what type of data is being stored in a cell. If it can interpret a value as a ...

Discover More

Moving Custom Formats to Number Formatting Categories

Moving your custom formats into a formatting category other than "custom" isn't something you can do in Excel. Here's ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 two less than 8?

2017-12-18 11:52:55

Gary M. Rose

When I need to process data in Excel from other sources and I need to view all characters with the same character widths so that they all line up, I always change the font to "Courier" which uses uniform character widths. In VBA, this can be done with the following:

With Selection.Font
.Name = "Courier"
.Size = 10
End With


2017-12-18 11:13:47

Dave Bonin

Allen,

It would be helpful to know which characters of the Symbol font are thin space(s).


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.