Text and Cell Alignments

In Excel XP alignment is important to be able to easily read data. Learn to format text and tables in various ways in Excel.

Changing horizontal cell alignment

We've previously seen how to align text or numbers using the left-align, center, and right-align buttons on the Standard toolbar. You can also define alignment in the Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

Horizontal Alignment Examples

The Horizontal section features a drop-down menu that contains the same left, center, and right alignment options in the picture above, as well as several more:


This fills the cell with the current contents by repeating the contents for the width of the cell.


If the text is larger than the cell width, Justify wraps the text in the cell and adjusts the spacing within each line so all lines are as wide as the cell.

Center Across Selection

Contents of the cell that are farthest to the left are centered across the selection of cells. This is similar to the Merge and Center command, except the cells are not merged.

To change horizontal alignment using the Format Cells dialog box:

  • Select a cell or range of cells.
  • Choose FormatCells from the menu bar.

    Formal and Cells Menu Selections

    (You could also right-click and choose Format Cells from the shortcut menu.)
  • The Format Cells dialog box opens.
  • Click the Alignment tab.

    Alignment Tab on the Format Cells Dialog Box
  • Click the Horizontal drop-down menu and select a horizontal alignment treatment.
  • Click OK to apply the horizontal alignment to the selected cell(s).