Wrapping Text in Merged Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 10, 2018)

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 Office 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

Customized Tables of Contents

Generating a table of contents is easy in Word. Changing how that table of contents looks is also easy, provided you ...

Discover More

Developing Reciprocal Conversion Formulas

When converting between measurement systems, you might want to use two cells for each type of measurement. Make a change ...

Discover More

Checking the Size of Apps

Need to know how much disk space is consumed by the small applications (apps) installed on your system? Windows makes it ...

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)

Merge and Center Not Available

What are you to do if you are trying to format a worksheet, only to find out that one of the tools you need is not ...

Discover More

Changing Cell Patterns

You can shade your cells by filling them with a pattern. Here's how to select the pattern you want used.

Discover More

Indenting Cell Contents

Excel allows you to apply several types of alignments to cells. One type of alignment allows you to indent cell contents ...

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 two minus 1?

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.