Four kinds of Excel text-alignment options are available on the Alignment tab.

  • Orientation lets you tilt the angle of text. This is often used for column headings.

  • Text alignment lets you define the placement of text within a cell on the horizontal axis and on the vertical axis.

  • Text control lets you wrap text, merge selected cells, or make text fit in a cell by adjusting the font size.

  • Right-to-Left lets you explicitly specify which direction text reads: right-to-left or left-to-right. 

Orientation

You can rotate text to a specific angle. This option is most commonly used for column headings. 

  1. Select a cell, row, column, or a range.

  2. Select Home > Orientation  The Orientation option in Excel helps you rotate text in a cell.  > Format Cell Alignment.

  3. Under Orientation on the right side, in the Degrees box, use the up or down arrow to set the exact number of degrees that you want to rotate the selected cell text.

    Positive numbers rotate the text upward. Negative numbers rotate the text downward. 

Text alignment

Excel offers several detailed options for indentation and for alignment along either the vertical or horizontal axis. 

To indent text from the left margin

  1. In the Indent box, select the up or down arrow to change the units of indent for the selected cell or cells.

    Note: If your text exceeds the width of the cell, it will be cut off from view by the right edge of the cell. Use Wrap text to ensure all the text in the cell is visible. 

To indent text from the right margin

  1. In the Horizontal box, select Right (Indent).

  2. In the Indent box, select the up or down arrow to change the units of indent for the selected cell or cells.

    Note: If your text exceeds the width of the cell, it will be cut off from view by the left edge of the cell. Use Wrap text to ensure all the text in the cell is visible. 

To align text horizontally

  1. In the Horizontal box, select an option from the list.

    Note: You may need to also use the Wrap text option to ensure all your text fits within the bounds of the cell.

Align text vertically

By using the options under Vertical, you can align text so that it is close to the Top margin of the cell or the Bottom margin of the cell, or you can Center text so that it is equal distance from the top and bottom of the cell.  

Distributed attempts to evenly space the lines of text within the cell from top to bottom. 

Justify attempts to make the text touch both the top and bottom margins of the cell. 

All these options are applicable when the text in the cell doesn't completely fill it from top to bottom. 

Text control

Wrap text: Select this option to make the cell text fit within the allotted width of the cell. Excel does that by changing the height of the cell to accommodate the text. 

Shrink to fit: Select this option to reduce the font size of the cell text so that the text fits in the current size of the cell without wrapping. (This shrink-to-fit option isn't available when Wrap text is turned on.)

Note: This feature can be defined only in the desktop version of Excel. However, once defined, it can be used in Excel for the web.

Merge cells: Select this option to keep the content of the leftmost or topmost cell. Any content in other cells that you've selected for the merge is discarded when the cells are merged. 

Right-to-Left

By default, text direction is set to Context, which means that text and numbers are aligned according to the language of the first character entered. For example, text in the cell is right-aligned if the first character is from a right-to-left language, and text is left-aligned if the first character in the cell is from a left-to-right language.

You can change this setting by opening the Text direction list and explicitly choosing Right-to-Left or Left-to-Right.

See Also

Change the format of a cell

Select cell contents

Format text in cells

Format numbers

Format a date the way you want

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