How to Indent in Excel

Add indentations to some or all contents within a spreadsheet cell

indent icon

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While the heart of most Excel spreadsheets is the data within them, formatting and presentation of said data is often important as well. There may be instances where knowing how to indent in Excel becomes necessary, such as when you need to indent at the start of a new paragraph or in a particular layout of a list.

If you need to indent anything in a cell or set of cells, Excel offers built-in functionality to do so with just the click of a button.

This tutorial is intended for users running Excel for Office 365, Excel 2019, Excel 2016, or Excel Online.

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

  1. Select the cell(s) containing the content you wish to indent. 

    screenshot of Excel for Office 365
  2. Select the Home, tab if it’s not already selected.

  3. Select Increase Indent, located in the Alignment section of the Excel ribbon and represented by four horizontal lines accompanied by a right-facing arrow.

    screenshot of hovering over the Increase Indent button in Excel for macOS
  4. All contents within your selected cell(s) should now be indented. To expand upon the amount of space in the indentation, select Increase Indent again.

    screenshot of indented text in Excel for macOS
  5. To remove some or all of the amount of space in the indentation, select Decrease Indent, also found in the Alignment section and represented by four horizontal lines accompanied by a left-facing arrow.

How to Indent Individual Selections Within a Cell

If you’d only want to indent part of a cell’s contents as opposed to the entire thing, you’ll need to use a manual workaround since the Increase Indent feature isn't a viable option in this scenario.

  1. Select the cell containing the content you wish to indent.

    screenshot of text overlapping multiple cells in Excel for macOS
  2. Select the Home tab.

  3. Select Wrap Text, located in the Alignment section of the Excel ribbon and represented by the letters ‘a’, ‘b’, and ‘c,’ along with a left-facing arrow. All text within your selected cell will now be wrapped so that it is fully visible across multiple lines.

    screenshot of wrapped text in Excel for macOS
  4. Double-click the cell in question so an active, blinking cursor is displayed.

  5. Place your cursor in front of the text you wish to indent and press the space bar multiple times until you’re satisfied with the size of the indentation. To decrease an indentation, press either the Backspace or Delete key.

    screenshot of part of a cell indented in Excel for macOS
  6. Repeat the above steps as many times as needed within the same cell or additional cells.

To create new lines within a cell, press Control+Option+Return on macOS; Alt+Enter on Windows.