Modifying Columns, Rows, and Cells

In Excel column width can be modified, as can row height and width in Excel. Learn to modify Excel cells in this free Excel 2016 lesson.

Wrapping text and merging cells

Whenever you have too much cell content to be displayed in a single cell, you may decide to wrap the text or merge the cell rather than resize a column. Wrapping the text will automatically modify a cell's row height, allowing cell contents to be displayed on multiple lines. Merging allows you to combine a cell with adjacent empty cells to create one large cell.

To wrap text in cells:

  1. Select the cells you want to wrap. In this example, we'll select the cells in column C.
  2. Click the Wrap Text command on the Home tab.
    clicking the Wrap text command on the Home tab
  3. The text in the selected cells will be wrapped.
    the text wrapped within column C

Click the Wrap Text command again to unwrap the text.

To merge cells using the Merge & Center command:

  1. Select the cell range you want to merge. In our example, we'll select A1:F1.
  2. Click the Merge & Center command on the Home tab. In our example, we'll select the cell range A1:F1.
    selecting cells to merge
  3. The selected cells will be merged, and the text will be centered.
    the newly merged cells

To access more merge options:

If you click the drop-down arrow next to the Merge & Center command on the Home tab, the Merge drop-down menu will appear.

other cell merge options

From here, you can choose to:

You'll want to be careful when using this feature. If you merge multiple cells that all contain data, Excel will keep only the contents of the upper-left cell and discard everything else.

To center across selection:

Merging can be useful for organizing your data, but it can also create problems later on. For example, it can be difficult to move, copy, and paste content from merged cells. A good alternative to merging is Center Across Selection, which creates a similar effect without actually combining cells.

  1. Select the desired cell range. In our example, we'll select A1:F1. Note: If you already merged these cells, you should unmerge them before continuing to step 2.
  2. Click the small arrow in the lower-right corner of the Alignment group on the Home tab.
    clicking the Alignment group pop-out arrow
  3. A dialog box will appear. Locate and select the Horizontal drop-down menu, select Center Across Selection, then click OK.
    selecting Center Across Selection
  4. The content will be centered across the selected cell range. As you can see, this creates the same visual result as merging and centering, but it preserves each cell within A1:F1.
    the text centered across the selection