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How to Start a New Line in a Microsoft® Excel Cell

A number of ways of forcing text in a cell onto a new line, including key-strokes and CONCATENATION, CONCAT and TEXTJOIN functions.

Last updated on 2020-05-26 by David Wallis.

Text Wrapping

Excel word wrapApplying Wrap Text from the Alignment section of the Home tab is one way to cause text to take up more than a single line in a cell.

Excel new lineHowever, if it’s your intention to keep the text on multiple lines, Wrap Text works for as long as you don’t increase column width far enough to allow the text to fit on one line.

Keyboard Shortcut

Excel force new lineYou can us the key strokes Alt+Enter to start a new line within a cell. Excel will maintan the lines when when you increase the column width.

Using a Formula

There are circumstance like this one is which you can use a formula to return multi-line entries in a cell:


The CONCAT function first appeared in Excel 2016, subject to the terms of your purchase of Excel. If you can’t find CONCAT amongst the functions in your Excel, then you can use the CONCATENATE function instead.

The TEXTJOIN Function

If you love concatenating, you’ll love the TEXTJOIN function. It reaches the dizzy heights of concatenation. Just look at this:


So much more sparing of formula length than either CONCAT or CONCATENATE! And the way it applies the seperation character — in this example CHAR(10) — which forces a new line! And the TRUE which causes empty cells to be ignored! Yummy!

You have my sympathy if your installation of Excel 2016, 2019 or Microsoft 365 doesn’t give you this orange marmalade and peanut butter sandwich of a function. That’s because of something to do with your licensing of Excel.

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