Excel > Excel 2003 Foundation > Formatting a Worksheet

Cell Alignment and Orientation

Cell alignment

By default all cell contents are aligned to the bottom of the cell. Labels are aligned to the left of a cell and values are aligned to the right of a cell.

To change the horizontal alignment of the contents of a cell:

  1. Select the cell(s) to be aligned
  2. Click the relevant horizontal alignment button on the Formatting toolbar

Alignment buttons

You can also format the vertical alignment of cell content:

  1. Select the cell(s) to be vertically aligned
  2. Click Format > Cells and then click the Alignment tab
  3. Select the vertical alignment from the drop down list

Applying vertical alignment

Merge cells

Cells content can be merged across multiple columns or rows making one large cell.

To merge and centre cell content:

  1. Select the cells you wish to merge and center
  2. Click the Merge and Center button on the Formatting toolbar Merge and Center button

To unmerge and centre cell content, click the Merge and Center button again.

It is advisable to leave a gap between cells that have been merged and other spreadsheet content, as merging cells breaks up a spreadsheets structure potentially causing problems with other Excel features.

You can also merge cells without centering:

  1. Select the cell(s) to merge
  2. Click Format > Cells and then click the Alignment tab
  3. Check the Merge cells box and click Ok

Merging cells using Format Cells dialogue box

Cell Orientation

Cell content can be orientated to be read vertically or at an angle. This can then be combined with features mentioned earlier like merge cells and cell alignment to create effects like the below.

Example of merged, aligned and orientated cells

  1. Select the cell(s) to orientate
  2. Click Format > Cells and then click the Alignment tab
  3. Specify the degrees of orientation in the degrees field or click and drag the red diamond up or down as required

Applying text orientation

Wrap text

If cell content becomes too large for the column or row, you can increase the row height or column width. An alternative is also to wrap text.

  1. Select the cell(s)
  2. Click Format > Cells and then click the Alignment tab
  3. Check the Wrap text box and click Ok

Wrapping text within a cell

You can also wrap text whilst entering data into the cell by pressing Alt + Enter

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