Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 24, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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

Chopped Off Page Borders

Tired of your page borders not printing out as you expect? The problem could be due to any number of settings or ...

Discover More

Printing XML Tags

Word 2003 allows you to use and save your information in XML format. If you want to, you can have Word print a document's ...

Discover More

Watching Cell Values

Want to know what is happening in certain cells in your worksheet? Using the Watch Window is a great way to keep an eye ...

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)

Deleting Unwanted Styles

Custom styles can be a great help in formatting a worksheet. You may, at some point, want to get rid of all the custom ...

Discover More

Formatted Dates Appear Differently on Different Systems

When you format a date in a specific manner, you may be surprised to see that the format changes when you open the ...

Discover More

Changing Currency Formatting for a Single Workbook

Currency is formatted differently in different corners of the world. Most formatting uses periods and commas to indicate ...

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 3 + 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.