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: Automatic Row Height for Wrapped Text.

Automatic Row Height for Wrapped Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 16, 2014)

Jordan formatted some cells in his worksheet to wrap text within them. Even though the text in the cells wraps, Excel won't automatically adjust the row height to show all the wrapped text. Jordan wonders if there is a way to "reset" the row so that Excel will adjust its height based on the text being wrapped within the cells.

By default, when you wrap text within a cell, Excel automatically adjusts row height so that all the text in the cell is visible. There are only two exceptions to this default:

  • The cell in which you are wrapping text is actually merged with another cell.
  • The height of the row in which the cell is located was previously changed.

In Jordan's case, there are no merged cells in the problem row. This leaves us with the second exception—it would appear that the height of the row in which the cell is located was explicitly set before wrapping was turned on in some of the row's cells.

In this case, the solution is simple: Reset the row height. There are actually a couple of ways you can do this. First, you could select the row and then double-click the "boundary" between the row and an adjacent row. With the row selected, take a look at the row header, to the left of column A. This area contains a row number, and the "boundary" you need to double-click is between this row number and the next row number.

It can be a bit tricky to get the mouse pointer in the correct location to do the double-clicking, so an approach I prefer is to select the row and simply choose Format | Row | Autofit. This allows Excel to determine the appropriate row height based on the contents of the row. If a cell in the row has wrapping turned on, then the row height will automatically adjust to display the information in the cell.

You can find additional information about this issue in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/149663

If you have quite a few rows that contain cells with wrapping turned on, and the height of none of the rows is adjusting, then you may be interested in a quick little macro that can do the adjustment for you:

Sub AutofitRows()
    For Each CL In UsedRange
        If CL.WrapText Then CL.Rows.AutoFit
    Next
End Sub

The macro steps through all the cells in a worksheet, and if the cell has wrapping turned on, it sets the AutoFit property of the row in which the cell is located.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10734) 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: Automatic Row Height for Wrapped Text.

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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