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.

Creating Two-Line Custom Formats

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 17, 2018)

1

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:

  1. Select the cells you want to format.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Number group. Excel displays the Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box.
  4. In the Category list, choose Custom. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  6. Delete whatever is in the Type box.
  7. Type "ddd d" without the quote marks.
  8. Hold down the Alt key while you press 0010 on the numeric keypad. This enters the line feed character, and it looks like the portion of the format you typed in step 6 disappears. It is not really gone; it has just moved up above what can be displayed in the Type box.
  9. Type "mmmm" without the quote marks.
  10. Click the Alignment tab. (See Figure 2.)
  11. Figure 2. The Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  12. Make sure the Wrap Text check box is selected.
  13. Click OK.

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.

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

Clearing and Deleting Cells

When you want to remove information from a worksheet, you can either clear cells or delete cells. This tip examines the ...

Discover More

Selecting a Sentence

Need to select an entire sentence? It's easy by making one small adjustment to how you click the mouse.

Discover More

Using Microsoft Fix It

Got a program on your system that you can't get rid of? Here's a handy little program that Microsoft provides that may be ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Custom Formats for Scientific Notation

Excel allows you to format your numeric values in a wide variety of ways. One such formatting option is to display ...

Discover More

Superscripts in Custom Formats

When you create custom formats for your data, Excel provides quite a few ways you can make that data look just as you ...

Discover More

Using a Custom Format to Add Dashes

Want some dashes automatically added in values you display in a cell? It may be trickier to develop a custom format than ...

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}] 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 9 + 6?

2018-03-19 05:00:37

Tony Nixon

I don't know when I will need this but it certainly works, and I have tried it up to four lines, not just two. It is a little tricky not being able to see the format code you have actually created though, or at least check where you have put the line fee characters


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.