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How to Add Line Breaks in Microsoft Excel

Excel Logo on a gray background

There are multiple ways to add line breaks in Excel, though none of them are obvious solutions. As with most problems in Excel, there are actually multiple ways to accomplish this. We’ll look at three different ways to add line breaks.

Adding a Line Break

To add a line break, first click inside the cell (or cells) where you want to add a break.

click inside cell

Click once more in the precise location where you want to insert the break. Because our example uses first and last names, we’ll click between the two to display them on separate lines.

click between first and last name

Press Alt + Enter on the keyboard if you’re using Excel on a Windows PC. If you’re using a Mac, press Control + Option + Return instead.

alt + enter

You can repeat these steps to add additional line breaks. If we want to separate a middle name onto its own line, for example, we’d just repeat the steps, placing the cursor where we want it and pressing Alt + Enter (Control + Option + Return on Mac).

repeat alt + enter

Auto Line Break Using Wrap Text

If you want to automatically break your lines once you reach the cell border, you can instead rely on the Wrap Text tool to do this automatically.

Select all of the cells you want to apply this text wrap to by clicking inside the first and then dragging until you reach the last cell you want to wrap.

click and drag

From the “Home” tab, click “Wrap Text.”

wrap text icon

Wrapping text in this way often leaves a few undesirable results. For example, the text may get broken in places you don’t want. To fix this, just enlarge the column by clicking and dragging the line next to your column of choice.

click and drag to enlarge cell

Add a Line Break After Specific Characters

Select all the cells where you want to add a line break.

click and drag

From the “Home” tab, click Find & Select > Replace. Alternatively, you can just use the Ctrl+H keyboard shortcut to bring up the same dialog.

In the “Find what” field, type the character you’re looking for. In our case, we’re looking for the comma that separates names from titles.

In the “Replace with” field, press Ctrl + J to add a carriage return. This will insert a line break in place of each comma.

ctrl + j

Click the “Replace All” button at the bottom to replace all commas with carriage returns.

Whichever method you used, your spreadsheet should now be easier to read at a glance.

This post was written by Bryan Clark and was first posted to

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