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How to rotate text or data in Excel

In this article, you will cover to rotate Text clockwise, anticlockwise at a certain degree moreover, the same you can apply on the data label of an Excel Chart.

Sometimes you have to rotate to adjust in a small place

Download Your Example Excel File

While writing this I used Office 365, however, anyone using Excel 2016, Excel 2013 and even prior editions of Excel should be able to follow along with the content.

If you have work with data in Excel, you may have noticed that it becomes difficult to manage the Column width and contents within a column. Some cell contents are long, and some are short resulting different size of columns.

To make sure the width of the column is equal we create unnecessary space as you can see in the image below that the width of each column is equal but occupy redundant space as well. The width is decided based on the most extended text, i.e., September in our example.

Manage column width or height using different Excel tools
Manage column width or height using different Excel tools

You can also use Wrap or Shrink tool so that data is visible with equal columns breadth, but again that’s not the best option. As the height of columns increases using the Wrap option and Text compress using the Shrink option.

Let’s check a couple of different options;

To adjust the column width in Excel

To make sure that the Text size is equal (no shrink) and occupy a minimal area of a column as per the text length. Select column C to N and then double click any of the selected boundaries between two column letters (Image below).

Returns uneven column width not suitable for printing
Returns uneven column width not suitable for printing

The action reduces the redundant space but results in columns with different width. This option does not sound great due to its uneven presentation of column size.
In such a situation, we can use Rotate Text option and align them correctly for a better appearance.

Rotate Excel Cell Data

Sometimes we want to use alignment based on the headings of each column. As you can see in the image above that the width of each column is not equal but does not occupy redundant space, smallest column of month is ‘May.’

The suitable option, in this case, is to Rotate Text under Alignment, Follow the below step:

To rotate cell text/data in Excel:

  • Go to worksheet ‘RotateText’ of Excel working file (Image instructions below)
  • Select the range of cell C4:N4 with months headings
  • Click the Orientation drop down under the alignment group
  • Select Angle Counterclockwise
  • Then select OutSide Borders under Font group
  • Select columns and adjust its width with a double click
Select one of the option to rotate cell data in Excel
Select one of the option to rotate cell data in Excel
Choose Outside Borders to the range of cells
Choose Outside Borders to the range of cells
Adjust the columns width to best fit the cell text.
Note: Adjust the columns width to best fit the cell text.

Now you can see that the text alignment of each data in the cell is Equal.

Keep trying until you get the best format.

Rotate Text in Cell by a certain degree

Well, Excel provides an option to Rotate Text using Ribbon quickly, but it does not offer with customize option. We can rotate Text to a certain degree like -27 or +37 whatever makes sense to you using Degree under Format Cells dialog box within the Alignment tab.

To Rotate Text in Cell by 45 or 90 degree

  • Select Excel Cell (Image instructions below)
  • Click the Orientation drop down under the Alignment group of Home Tab
  • Format Cells dialogue box Pop Out
  • Then select the Degree option
  • Enter the required number (45, 90, or experiment.)
Rotate data using Degree option Excel
Rotate Data in Excel cell as required by the user