Wrapping Text in Merged Cells

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 10, 2018)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


5

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 Microsoft 365.

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

Hyperlinking to a Specific Excel Worksheet

Creating a hyperlink to an Excel workbook is easy. With the information in this tip you can discover how to hone that ...

Discover More

Where Is that Name?

Want to easily see the location of named ranges in your worksheet? It's easy; all you need to do is use the familiar Zoom ...

Discover More

Renaming a Style

Styles are invaluable when it comes to applying consistent formatting in and across documents. If you need to rename a ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Checking All Cell Formatting in VBA

When your macro checks the formatting used for a cell, it needs to be careful that the type of formatting being checked ...

Discover More

Cycling through Colors

If you need to easily change the font colors in a group of cells, one of the esoteric commands Excel provides is the ...

Discover More

Automatically Formatting for Decimal Places

Cell contents and cell formatting are, in Excel, largely independent of each other. You can enter something in a cell and ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 two less than 9?

2018-11-17 06:32:46

Alex B

Hello Stacey & Joy, I don't know if you still need an answer but the most likely reason it would appear not to work is that you didn't manually increase the row height to allow you to see the additional lines created by the wrapping of text. As Allen explained the row height does not automatically increase in merged cells.


2018-11-12 09:32:59

Stacey J.

I also tried the wrap text in merged cell tip and it didn't work for me either way suggested. Please help!


2018-11-12 09:31:45

Joy

This does not work?


2018-11-12 05:36:56

Simon Freeman

Another way to resolve the date ###### issue is to use a smaller font!


2018-11-12 02:23:28

Alex B

Unless you are using the merged cell in a form, you are much better off using the Format Cells > Alignment > Horizontal = Center Accross Selection and Text Control > Wrap text = Ticked.

Using merged cells in a normal spreadsheet where you are just putting a in heading that spans multiple columns, Center Accross Selection will normally achieve the desired outcome without the downstream issues that merged cells has which is likely to cause later. Also it does expand the row to fit the text.


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.