Aligning Text in Cells

Aligning Text in Cells

When you enter data into a cell , that data is aligned automatically. Text is aligned on the left, and numbers are aligned on the right (values resulting from a formula or function are also right-aligned). Both text and numbers are initially set at the bottom of the cells. However, you can change both the vertical and the horizontal alignment of data in your cells.

Follow these steps to change the alignment:

  1. Select the cell or range you want to align.

  2. Select the Format menu and then select Cells . The Format Cells dialog box appears.

  3. Click the Alignment tab (see Figure 9.4).

    Figure 9.4. Select from the Alignment options on the Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box.


  4. Choose from the following options to set the alignment:

    • Horizontal Lets you specify a left/right alignment in the cells. (The Center Across selection centers a title or other text within a range of cells, which is discussed in a moment.)

    • Vertical Lets you specify how you want the text aligned in relation to the top and bottom of the cells.

    • Orientation Lets you flip the text sideways or print it from top to bottom instead of left to right.

    • Wrap Text Tells Excel to wrap long lines of text within a cell without changing the width of the cell. (Normally, Excel displays all text in a cell on one line.)

    • Shrink to Fit Shrinks the text to fit within the cell's current width. If the cell's width is adjusted, the text increases or decreases in size accordingly .

    • Merge Cells Combines several cells into a single cell. All data is overlaid, except for the cell in the upper-left corner of the selected cells.

  5. Click OK when you have finished making your selections.


Changing Text Orientation The Alignment tab also provides an Orientation box that enables you to rotate text within a cell or a group of merged cells. Drag the degree dial on the Alignment tab or use the Degree box to specify the amount of rotation for the text.

Aligning Text from the Toolbar

As with the font attributes such as bold and italic, you can also select certain alignment options directly from the Formatting toolbar. Table 9.2 lists the buttons that enable you to align the text.

Table 9.2. Alignment Buttons





Align Left

Places data at left edge of cell


Align Right

Places data at right edge of cell



Centers data in cell


Merge and Center

Centers data in selected cell range

Excel also enables you to indent your text within a cell. If you're typing a paragraph's worth of information into a single cell, for example, you can indent that paragraph by selecting Left Alignment from the Horizontal list box in the Format Cells dialog box (as explained earlier). After selecting Left Alignment, set the amount of indent you want with the Indent spin box in the Format Cells dialog box.

In addition, you can add an indent quickly by clicking the buttons on the Formatting toolbar, as listed in Table 9.3.

Table 9.3. Indent Buttons





Decrease Indent

Removes an indent or creates a negative indent


Increase Indent

Adds an indent

Combining Cells and Wrapping Text

As shown in Table 9.2 in the last section, you can center text across a range of cells or merge several cells to hold a sheet title or other text information. If you want to center a title or other text over a range of cells, select the entire range of blank cells in which you want the text centered. This should include the cell that contains the text you want to center (which should be in the cell on the far left of the cell range). Then, click the Merge and Center button on the Formatting toolbar.

Combining a group of cells also allows you to place a special heading or other text into the cells (this works well in cases where you use a large font size for the text). Select the cells that you want to combine. Then, select Format, Cells and select the Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

Click the Merge Cells check box and then click OK . The cells are then merged.

If you have a cell or a group of merged cells that holds a large amount of text (such as an explanation), you might want to wrap the text within the cell or merged cells. Click the cell that holds the text entry, and then select Format, Cells . Select the Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

Click the Wrap Text checkbox. Then click OK .

Microsoft Office 2003 All-in-One
Microsoft Office 2003 All-in-One
Year: 2002
Pages: 660
Authors: Joe Habraken

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