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: Creating Two-Line Custom Formats.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 2, 2017)
Excel is quite flexible in how it allows you to set up custom formats for displaying all sorts of values. Most custom formats are straightforward and easy to figure out, once you understand how custom formats work. (Custom formats and how to set them up has been discussed fully in other issues of ExcelTips.)
What if you want to create a two-line custom format, however? For instance, you may want to format a date so that the abbreviated day of the week and day of the month is on the first line, followed by the unabbreviated name of the month on the second line. Using such a format, a date would appear in a single cell in this manner:
Sat 13 April
Most of this can be done by the custom format "ddd d mmmm", but you need to figure out a way to add a line break between the "d" and the "mmmm". Excel won't let you press Alt+Enter between them, which is what you normally do to add a line break.
The solution is to use the numeric keypad to enter the desired line break in the format. Follow these steps to set it up:
Figure 1. The Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box.
Figure 2. The Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box.
After setting up the format in this manner, you will need to adjust the row height of the formatted cells so that the entire two lines of the date will display.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12587) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Creating Two-Line Custom Formats.
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