by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 10, 2018)
Rachel wrote in to ask if there is a way to wrap text in merged cells without resorting to using macros.
The short answer is that, yes, there is a way, and it is the same way you would wrap text in a non-merged cell. All you need to do is select the cell in which you want text merged, display the Home tab of the ribbon, and click the Wrap Text tool—that's it. (An alternative method is to display the Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box and use the Merge Cells check box.)
There are differences, though, in what happens after you turn on text wrapping in a regular cell versus a merged cell. In a regular cell, you'll likely see the row height adjust automatically to display all the wrapped text. In a merged cell, however, that doesn't happen—the row height stays unchanged and you'll need to adjust it manually.
If you are looking for an automatic way to have Excel adjust row height on merged cells, you might want to consider this tip.
In addition, if the merged cell contains a formula that results in a numeric value (this includes date values which look like text, but aren't), then the result won't wrap to additional rows in the cell. (This happens regardless of whether the cell is a non-merged or merged cell.) Instead, you'll see the "#######" designation indicating that your cell is too narrow for the result to be displayed. In those cases, you'll need to either adjust the column width or use a formula that actually results in text being displayed, such as with the TEXT function.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13583) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.
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!
One way you can format a cell is so that its contents are repeated over and over again for the entire width of the cell. ...Discover More
How Excel displays numbers is extremely flexible, but it can also be very confusing. This tip looks at how number display ...Discover More
Need to merge a bunch of cells together on a regular basis? You'll love the two macros in this tip which can make short ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.