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)

3

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. ...

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What is four less than 7?

2022-01-28 07:23:27

Eric

Another option is to add a shape to the worksheet, with text in it. You can adjust character spacing in shapes. You can then format the shape to match the appearance of the rest of the spreadsheet.

You can set the 'move and size with cell' and print options to suit. This approach is limited to mostly cosmetic applications. It was fine for me because I'm saving to PDF and the viewers of the document do not interact with file beyond reading it.


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).


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