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: Changing Character Spacing.

Changing Character Spacing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 12, 2017)


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, and 2013. 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. ...


Word Won't Maximize

Sometimes, for whatever reason, your computer might not display Word or other programs properly. There are a few things to ...

Discover More

Word 2007 Graphics (Table of Contents)

One way to enhance your documents is with Word's powerful graphics capabilities. Discover how to best utilize graphics and ...

Discover More

Making PROPER Skip Certain Words

The PROPER worksheet function is used to change the case of text so that only the first letter of each word is uppercase. ...

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)

Problems with Custom Views

If you get an error when you try to use one of your custom views, it could be due to the protection you have applied to the ...

Discover More

Setting Vertical Alignment

Excel allows you to adjust not only the horizontal alignment of values in a cell, but also the vertical alignment. This tip ...

Discover More

Mimicking Small Caps in Excel

Word provides a much wider range of formatting tools and options than you can find in Excel. One example is when it comes to ...

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 6 + 0?

2016-11-20 15:45:18

Mike Benstead



1. "&Calendar!$U$2&REPT(" ",8-LEN(Calendar!$U$2))&Calendar!$V$2&"
2. "&Calendar!$U$3&REPT(" ",8-LEN(Calendar!$U$3))&Calendar!$V$3&"
3. "&Calendar!$U$4&REPT(" ",8-LEN(Calendar!$U$4))&Calendar!$V$4&"
4. "&Calendar!$U$5&REPT(" ",8-LEN(Calendar!$U$5))&Calendar!$V$5&"
5. "&Calendar!$U$6&REPT(" ",8-LEN(Calendar!$U$6))&Calendar!$V$6&"
6. "&Calendar!$U$7&REPT(" ",8-LEN(Calendar!$U$7))&Calendar!$V$7&"
7. "&Calendar!$U$8&REPT(" ",8-LEN(Calendar!$U$8))&Calendar!$V$8&"
8. "&Calendar!$U$9&REPT(" ",8-LEN(Calendar!$U$8))&Calendar!$V$9&"
9. "&Calendar!$U$10&REPT(" ",8-LEN(Calendar!$U$10))&Calendar!$V$10&"
10. "&Calendar!$U$11&REPT(" ",8-LEN(Calendar!$U$11))&Calendar!$V$11

where ...
column V contains calendar items and
Column U contains days to due date.

Note The only non-kerning font I have found (to date) is Courier New. Gothic PS comes close but no cigar.

2015-03-27 15:48:13


It's not really spacing in one cell, but it is a Kerning workaround:
If you need to space out a number like a Social Insurance number, as in for a form...
1. Make a column for each number. Space the columns as you need them for kerning.
2. Enter the entire number into one cell for reference as TEXT.
3. Make formulas in each cell to refer to the right number. Eg., If your reference is in A1,
Col 1: =MID($A$1,1,1)
Col 2: =MID($A$1,2,1)
Col 3: =MID($A$1,3,1), etc.

2013-10-18 18:49:24

Bryan Linch

Got sidetracked with my soap box. The font I chose for the 'best' spacing (for my purposes) was Letter GothicPS.

2013-10-18 18:45:01

Bryan Linch

I looked here for this very same question. I too am disappointed that there are *only* workarounds, but I am VERY glad others have taken the time to confirm that for me -- and come up with some fairly ingenious workarounds. If you're trying to use this for one time only, the tedious time might be wasted. However, if you are doing anything in a spreadsheet for single use, you are already wasting time.

2013-02-17 20:37:41

Peter Atherton

I see that there are no problems with the lines, however a few spaces were missed while copying the code.

' double the spaces added between words
str = str & Mid(x(i), k, 1) & " "

There should be four (4) spaces between the quotes

2013-02-17 20:32:47

Peter Atherton

I would tend to try Courier (a non proportional font. But if you insisted on something else try this macro.

Sub InsertSpace()
Dim c, x, char As String
Dim i As Integer, j As Integer
Dim k As Integer, str As String

For Each c In Selection
str = ""
x = Split(c, " ")
j = UBound(x)
For i = LBound(x) To UBound(x)
For k = 1 To Len(x(i))
If k = Len(x(i)) Then
' double the spaces added between words
str = str & Mid(x(i), k, 1) & " "
' Add the spaces
str = str & Mid(x(i), k, 1) & " "
End If
Next k
Next i
c.Value = str
Next c
End Sub

Be careful of the wrapping, if the code is red then the line may have an unintended line feed because of the space.

2013-02-17 18:28:15


how about doing find and replace, with find the letter "a" and replace "a " - letter a and a space? Then do this 26 times with each of the letters of the alphabet?

2013-02-17 08:00:13


Often there are *only* workarounds for what we want to do; this is one such case.

It is best to note that somewhere (such as here) so that people with the same question in the future can at least see that someone, somewhere has addressed it.


2013-02-17 01:02:25

Martin Nicol

I must say this was a disappointing tip. I assumed that you only published tips to help us learn some tricky aspect of Excel.
I pass on Macro tips but I appreciate other people may enjoy their challenge; but to spend time on a tip that does not have an answer and suggest work-arounds that would take tedious amount of time, leaves me cold.

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.