Wrapping Text in Merged Cells

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 11, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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 merged cell in which you want text wrapped, 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 Wrap Text 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, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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