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: Understanding Cell Indenting.

Understanding Cell Indenting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 25, 2017)

When you think of indenting information, you normally think of a word processor. It is not unusual to indent paragraphs or specific lines of information on the screen. Excel, while definitely not a word processor, allows you to easily indent information within a cell.

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. Using the Indent control, specify the number of characters by which the cell contents should be indented. You can pick any whole number between 0 and 15.
  6. Click on OK.

Each number of indent moves the contents of the cell about one character width to the right. (There goes that strange character measurement system in Excel again.) You can also control the indentation of cell contents by using the two indent tools on the Formatting toolbar. Each click of a tool moves the cell contents one position to the left or right.

If you have set up a cell so that text wraps within the cell, then indentation affects all the lines of text within the cell—not just the first line.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3270) 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: Understanding Cell Indenting.

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

Searching for All

When you are working on a worksheet (particularly a large one), you may want to search for and possibly copy information from ...

Discover More

Inserting a Sound File in Your Worksheet

Some worksheets are better understood through the spoken word or with musical accompaniment. Sound files can be easily ...

Discover More

Removing Breaks

Word allows you to add several types of "breaks" into your document. If you later want to remove any of them, you can use ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Changing Font Sizes

Want to change the size of the font within a worksheet? Excel allows you to choose from a list of sizes, as well as define ...

Discover More

Understanding Monospace Fonts

Information in a worksheet needs to be displayed using fonts. If you understand the two different types of fonts available on ...

Discover More

Adding a Custom Format to those Offered by Excel

Adding a custom format to Excel is easy. Having that custom format appear in all your workbooks is a different story ...

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 for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

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.

Links and Sharing
Share