Wrap or Shrink to adjust large Text in Excel

In this article, you will understand how to adjust and fit the text in such a manner that it is within the cell boundary of your worksheet design. Moreover, the Excel cell dynamically expand to fit the cell text.

Wrap your products smartly to avoid spillovers

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.

Download Your Example Excel File

One of the Important and hardest parts of managing data is to design them exactly the way you want it. One of the common problems an Excel user find is when a text does not fit into a cell and overflow to adjacent cells or text runs to the right across your spreadsheet.

Moreover, some time Text cut-off when there’s content in the adjacent column. In the Exercise file, you will notice all contents of cell C4 are not visible due to less width of column although you can always adjust the width. You will also find hyperlinks that do not fit within the cell.

However, the question is how long you will extend cell width if the text is longer:?:

Apart from appearance the size of the cells with its contents must be appropriately aligned so that they print correctly.

So, what we can do to easily paste large text that adjusts or avoid spillover within an excel cell? We can manage such problems by using Excel’s Wrap Text option.

What is Wrap Text used for?

The purpose of Wrap Text is to make sure all the texts in a cell stay within the boundaries of the cell so that all the cell contents are visible to readers.

How to insert or wrap long text in Excel

  • Go to worksheet ‘Wrap’ of Excel working file (Image instructions below)
  • Select cell C4
  • Go to Home tab of the Ribbon, click Wrap Text under the Alignment group

Repeat the same task with Hyperlinks in cell E4&E5.

Shortcut key to adjust a text in cell is Alt+H+W.

Use Excel Wrap to adjust long text to fit within an excel cell by expanding vertically
Use Excel Wrap to adjust long text to fit within an excel cell by expanding vertically

You will notice that the width of the cell is unchanged, but it makes sure that all contents are within the body of cells by making the cell taller than it was before. This action will result in the text to go down in Excel instead of across.

Some time it we can also adjust the Text of a column using Rotate Text.

Break text in Excel

After pasting or writing large text or paragraph, you will find it difficult to read as they display as part of one giant section.
In such cases, we can break the text by placing your cursor in the cell where you want to create two lines or new paragraph and then press Enter key on Mac or Alt+Enter keys on Windows.

Use line break with wrap text to write a paragraph in excel cell
Use line break with wrap text to write a paragraph in excel cell

Compress or shrink the Text

Let’s suppose you don’t want to increase the cell size horizontally or vertically and to fit the text within the boundary of cells. In such instances, you can use Excel’s ‘Shrink the text’ option.

The first thing you will do is to undo the action of wrapping the text. Moreover, follow the below steps:

To compress or shrink the Text in Excel:

  • Go to worksheet ‘Wrap’ (after unwrapping) of Excel working file (Image instructions below)
  • Select cell C4
  • Right Click and Select the Format cells.. option
  • Under the Alignment tab; check box Shrink to fit option
  • Click Ok
Format cell alignment shrink text
Right click the cell to compress and select the Format Cells option
Use Format Cells option to shrink and wrap text
Use Format Cells option to shrink or fit text easily

The result will show that cell boundaries remain as it is, width or height of the cell did not change but reduces the type size of the text or data within the cell.

Excel Wrap Text not working

In occasions, you will find that Wrap Text option is not performing it’s action as desired by a user. We may discover the following reasons behind such instances:

Cell enable with Merge

Merging is a useful tool to combine one or more cells into a single Excel cell. We can not use the Wrap Text option in case a cell is already merged. Although, we can click on both options but effectively Wrap Text option does not expand the height of the cell.

In such a case, we may have to decide which is the better option for designing a spreadsheet.

Disable Merge option to fit text within a cell Excel
Disable Merge option to fit text within a cell

Use AutoFit Row or Column

Sometimes even if the text is already wrapped the user can not see all the writings of a section. Use AutoFit option as the solution in such scenarios.

AutoFit adjust the row or column to fit all the text of a given cell.

In the Example file, go to ‘Not Working’ worksheet in cell H8 you will find that a large part of text is not visible. Use Autofit to expand the cell to fit contents, that also create a print-friendly spreadsheet.

AutoFit to Expand cells in Excel
  • If Wrap Text is already active and then you enable Merge option, in that case, this problem will not occur, but merging a cell won’t be design friendly.
  • We can also change the height or width of a row for enabling Merge and Wrap Text options together.