How to Indent in Excel

Add indentations to some or all contents within a spreadsheet cell

Excel spreadsheets help you organize, manipulate, and share data, but sometimes formatting is also important. There are times you may need to indent text in an Excel cell, for example, if you're using a specific layout or adding a paragraph. Here's a look at how to use Excel's built-in indenting functionality.

This article's information applies to Excel for Microsoft 365, Excel on the Web, Excel 2019, and Excel 2016.

How to Indent the Contents of a Cell or Set of Cells

If your spreadsheet has text elements, adding indents might help readability.

  1. Select the cell or cells containing the content you want to indent. 

    Select the cell or cells containing the content you want to indent.
  2. Select the Home tab if it's not already selected.

    The Home tab in Excel
  3. In the Alignment section, select Increase Indent. The icon has four horizontal lines and a right-facing arrow.

    The Increase Indent button
  4. The text in your selected cells will now be indented. To add more indentation space, select Increase Indent again.

    The text in your selected cells will now be indented.
  5. If you want to remove some of the indentation space, select the cells and then select Decrease Indent. This icon has four horizontal lines with a left-facing arrow.

    The Decrease Indent button

How to Indent Individual Selections Within a Cell

If your text is too long to fit in a cell, it's easy to wrap the text to the next line. However, if you want to indent the next line, you can't use the Increase Indent feature. Fortunately, there's an easy workaround. Here's how it works;

  1. Select the cell containing the text that's too long.

    Select the cell containing the text that's too long.

    Make sure you're on the Home tab.

  2. In the Alignment section, select Wrap Text.

    The Wrap Text button
  3. Your text will now extend to two lines.

    Your text will now extend to two lines.
  4. Click your cursor into the cell just before the second line of text and press Alt-Enter on a PC or Option-Return on a Mac.

    Click your cursor into the cell just before the second line of text and press Alt-Enter on a PC or Option-Return on a Mac.
  5. Hit the spacebar a few times to add a manual indent to the second line of text. Adjust to your preferences.

    Hit the spacebar a few times to add a manual indent to the second line of text.