In this article, you will get a complete overview of how to start a new line in Excel.
Starting a new line in Excel is essential for better data organization and presentation. It enables users to create more comprehensive notes, multiline cell content, and clearer data formatting for improved readability.
The primary use of starting a new line in Excel is to input or display multiple lines within a single cell. This is useful for adding detailed notes, comments, or descriptions alongside data.
Whether you’re dealing with financial reports, inventories, project plans, or any other type of data, adding new lines within Excel will add value to your work.
The function of line break and carriage return may look similar but they are slightly different from each other. Line breaks are used for manual text formatting within cells, while carriage returns are more commonly used in formulas or code to insert line breaks programmatically.
Here, we are discussing line breaks but for the formula part, it is more likely to carriage return.
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How to Add New Line in Excel: 3 Effective Ways
There are several ways to add a new line in Excel for different situations. Here, we will discuss 3 real-life scenarios so that you can relate the process of starting a new line (carriage return) in Excel.
1. Add New Line with Keyboard Shortcut
The quickest and easiest way to insert a new line is to use the keyboard shortcut.
- Just put your cursor where you want to start a new line > press ALT+ENTER.
- This command will send the next part after the cursor to a new line.
You can repeat pressing this shortcut key as much as you need new lines in the cell.
2. Use the Find and Replace Feature to Insert New Line
Let’s consider a new case where you have multiple cells and in each cell, you have multiple texts separated by commas. You want to replace a comma with a new line in each cell. In that case, you can simply use the Find and Replace dialog box to insert a new line by replacing the commas.
- Press CTRL+H to launch the Find and Replace dialog box. You can also launch this box from the Home tab: click the drop-down of the Find & Select icon > select Replace.
- In the Find what field, type a comma.
- In the Replace with field, press CTRL+J (this is the shortcut key for carriage return or new line).
- Click Replace All.
You will see only the first part before the first comma in each cell. To see the full text, you will need to autofit the rows.
- Select all rows > place your cursor in between any of the rows and double-click.
As a result, you will find the expected result. Excel has inserted new lines previously but it is now visible after adjusting the height of the rows.
3. Start New Line Using Excel Formula
Let’s consider another case. You have multiple texts in multiple cells. You want to join these cells’ contents but want to show the content of each cell in new lines.
In such cases, you can use Excel formulas to insert new lines for different cells. Here, we will show the use of 3 functions of Excel, and each time, you will need to activate the Wrap Text option.
3.1. Using CHAR Function
The CHAR function returns the character specified by the code number from the character set for your computer. Among the character codes of CHAR function, only the CHAR(10) function inserts line breaks in Excel.
- Apply the following formula to combine the texts of cells B5, C5, and D5 to join them with a line break.
💡 Formula Breakdown
B5 & “ ” => the cell value of B5 and “ ” indicates a space after the cell value.
CHAR(10) represents a line break
The ampersand operator (&) joins texts in a formula.
So, B5&” “&CHAR(10)&C5&” “&CHAR(10) returns => Mike Applied Physics
Finally, B5&” “&CHAR(10)&C5&” “&CHAR(10)&D5 returns => Mike Applied Physics Purdue University
- Go to the Home tab and activate the Wrap Text icon.
Applying the formula with the Wrap Text command will insert new lines in the corresponding cell.
3.2. Applying CONCATENATE Function
The CONCATENATE function joins several text strings into one text string. A combination of CONCATENATE with CHAR(10) function followed by the Wrap Text command will insert new lines in a cell.
3.3. Using TEXTJOIN Function
A combination of TEXTJOIN with the CHAR(10) function can also perform the same task. The TEXTJOIN function concatenates a list or range of text strings using a delimiter.
The syntax of the TEXTJOIN function:
As we want to insert a line break, our delimiter is the CHAR(10) function. Apply the following formula followed by the Wrap Text feature.
Here, the argument TRUE represents we will ignore empty cells. If you want to include empty cells, the argument will be => FALSE.
Read More: Insert New Line in Cell Formula
Show New Lines with Wrap Text
When you have a large number of texts in a single cell and you don’t want to apply any of the methods stated above but want to insert new lines in the cell, you can use the Wrap Text feature of Excel.
Wrap Text is a formatting feature in Microsoft Excel that allows text to wrap within a cell, displaying multiline content. When enabled, long text strings will automatically wrap to fit within the cell width, and any additional text will continue on the next line within the same cell.
By default, the Wrap Text feature is disabled which means that long text strings will extend beyond the visible cell boundary. You will need to manually adjust the cell width or use the horizontal scrollbar to read the entire content.
However, by enabling the Wrap Text option, Excel will automatically adjust the row height to accommodate the multiline content and send the additional contents in a new line to read within the cell.
Insert New Line in Excel on Android
To insert a new line in Excel on your Android phone:
- Double-tap on the cell where you want to insert a new line or line break.
- Again tap on the character from where you want to start a new line > tap on the appeared blue cursor > select New Line.
In this way, you can start a new line in the Excel application on your Android phone.
Read More: How to Put Multiple Lines in Excel Cell
New Line in Excel Cell Not Working
Sometimes you may notice that you are trying to insert a new line in the Excel cell, but it is not working as it is supposed to be. It may happen for several reasons.
- Make sure that you turned on the Wrap Text feature. If it is disabled, the cell may not show a new line in it.
- When manually typing in multiline content, remember to use the ALT+ENTER keyboard shortcut to insert new lines. Avoid using other symbols like “\n” or line breaks copied from other sources, as they may not be recognized as new lines in Excel.
- If you are using an older Excel version or a file saved in compatibility mode, some formatting features may not work correctly. Save the file in the latest Excel format to ensure optimal functionality.
By following these steps, you should be able to resolve the problem of new lines not working in Excel cells.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I add multiline content to multiple cells simultaneously?
Ans: Yes, you can use the “Find and Replace” dialog box to insert new lines in multiple cells at once. This method is particularly useful when you need to update several cells with multiline content quickly.
2. Can I format the multiline content differently within the same cell?
Ans: Yes, you can apply various formatting options to the multiline content, such as changing font styles, alignments, and even adding borders or shading. Excel provides flexibility in customizing the appearance of multiline cells.
3. Can I undo or remove the new lines I added in a cell?
Ans: Yes, you can remove the new lines by editing the cell and deleting or replacing the line breaks. Alternatively, you can use the “Find and Replace” dialog box to replace the line breaks with a specific character or text.
Takeaways from This Article
- Utilizing the keyboard shortcut “ALT+ENTER” provides a quick and straightforward way to insert new lines within a cell.
- The “Find and Replace” feature offers to replace specific characters with new lines, allowing users to add multiline content to multiple cells.
- Excel’s formula approach (CHAR(10) combined with operators or functions) provides more flexibility in formatting and manipulating multiline content.
So, here are almost all the things that you need to know about a new line in Excel.
We have discussed keyboard shortcuts, Find and Replace, and Excel formulas for adding new lines.
Each of them offers unique advantages for different scenarios. Understanding the use case, users can choose the most efficient technique for their specific tasks and be capable of handling their data.