Fit Text in a Cell

If the text you entered in the cell is too long to display it in its entirety, Excel will display only a part of it. When you click the cell, you can see much more in the formula bar.

There are a few different ways in Excel to display the entire text. Depending on the situation or certain restrictions (for example those imposed by the company you work in), you can choose one of the three methods to achieve this goal.

Changing the width of a column

Example 1:

Widening a column is the easiest and probably the first method that comes to mind. Move the border between cell D and E, so that the cursor will change its shape, as shown in the following picture.

Click the border between cells D and E and drag it to the right, so it is wide enough to contain the entire contents of the cell.

You can also use double-click on the border. When you do it, the column will be widened exactly to contain the widest text in the column.

Text wrapping

When the text is too long, widening columns doesn’t seem to be the best idea because the column would be too wide to scroll the worksheet comfortably. Besides, it would take many pages to print such a document.

The next method is called Text Wrapping. It will wrap the text and display it in multiple lines, increasing the row height.

Example 2:

Select column D5, then go to HOME >> Alignment >> Wrap Text. In our example, the row becomes twice as high to display the entire text.

Text shrinking

There is another method that allows you to fit the whole text into the cell. In this one you don’t need to change the row height or column width, just adjust the font size.

To use this method, select the cell, then go to HOME >> Alignment and click the little square in the lower right corner. In the new window, select Shrink to fit and press the OK button.

The disadvantage of this method is that it makes sense only when the text is only slightly larger than the column width. Otherwise, the font will be too small and, therefore, impossible to read.

Tomasz Decker is an Excel specialist, skilled in data analysis and financial modeling.