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: Indenting Cell Contents.

Indenting Cell Contents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 19, 2020)

3

Excel allows you to format the contents of a cell in a myriad of ways. One of the formatting options you can apply is to indent the contents of a cell by a certain amount. This is similar to indenting done in a word processor, such as Microsoft Word, except that the indenting is specified in a number of characters, not in a linear distance such as inches or points.

To set the indent to be used in a cell, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cells you want to format.
  2. Choose Cells from the Format menu. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Alignment tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  5. In the Horizontal drop-down list, choose Left (Indent). If you are using Excel 2002 or 2003, you can also choose Right (Indent).
  6. Using the Indent control, specify the number of characters by which the cell contents should be indented from either the left or right side of the cell. You can pick any whole number between 0 and 15.
  7. Click on OK.

Note in step 4 that you can choose either a left or right indent if you are using Excel 2002 or Excel 2003. You cannot, however, indent from both the left and right, like you can with a word processor. You can only choose to indent from the left or the right.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2948) 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: Indenting Cell Contents.

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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What is 1 + 9?

2019-12-30 13:36:39

Roy

@Ioan Buda: Sadly, this method of formatting uses pretty big chunks of white space and won't let you adjust that in any way, nor use fractional indent values. However, you can format the cell with a custom format that uses single spaces (or any blank character/s you have in the font you are using) to give a finer control of how far inward they indent.

So for a simple example, the format " @" (without the quotes, of course)would add the white space for one "space's" width. You can follow it with another space (" @ ") to indent from both edges. You can also use it in separate formats for positive, negative, and zero values. Or as a component of conditional formats (I mean the kind where you use REGULAR formatting, not "Conditional Formatting" to have conditions like: [<-2]-#.000;{<0]-#.00000;[<2]#.00000;#.000 , though of course, it would work in normal Conditional Formatting too).

You can use different width blank space type characters for fairly fine control.

@corey: Not dead certain, but I believe you are describing the same thing: set it to indent "1" space and the 1 you type in gets moved quite far over. If so, see the above.

To clearly reiterate a point in it, it works with any kind of entry, not just text.


2017-07-21 14:50:27

corey

it appears that excel's "1" integer width is actually 4 characters. Is there a way to change the "1" integer width to actually 1 character?


2015-11-01 08:51:58

Ioan Buda

Hi,

I need to decrease the space between text and the border of the cell.

Thank you,
Ioan.

PS Thank you also for the other information shared !


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