Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Setting Vertical Alignment.

Setting Vertical Alignment

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 5, 2017)

Excel provides several different ways you can align information from top to bottom (vertically) within a cell. You set the alignment by first selecting the cells you want to format and then displaying the Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box. (See Figure 1.) (To display the dialog box, choose Cells from the Format menu.)

Figure 1. The Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

On the Alignment tab, use the Vertical drop-down list to make your selection. There are four different alignment options available in Excel 97 and Excel 2000, and five in later versions of Excel:

  • Top. The information in the cell is situated such that the top line of text appears at the top of the cell.
  • Center. Information is centered half-way between the top and bottom borders of the cell.
  • Bottom. This is the default vertical alignment. Information is aligned at the bottom of the cell.
  • Justify. Text is spread evenly throughout the cell. The information within the cell is wrapped within the column (if necessary), and the row height is adjusted so that all lines fit within the cell and so all information reaches both the top and bottom borders of the cell. Column width is not affected at all.
  • Distributed. This option is available in Excel 2002 or later versions. When selected, text is spread evenly between the top of the cell and the bottom. Effectively, blank space is placed between each line so that the complete cell is filled.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2124) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Setting Vertical Alignment.

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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