Have you ever wanted to put a block of text on a spreadsheet? It may have been instructions for those who would be using the spreadsheet or just a long description, but it was definitely a nuisance trying to get the right number of words on each line. The Justify option on Excel’s Fill command makes this process easier than you could have imagined.

Let’s say you made a form in Excel and you want to place these instructions in a block, spread over several rows, instead of in one long line.

Through trial and error you could type a few words into each cell until you figure out what fits. Or you could type it all into one cell, select the area you want the instructions to fill, click the Fill button on the ribbon, and choose Justify. Excel will spread the text over as many rows as it needs to fit all of the text within the width of the area you selected. The area you select can cover multiple rows and/or columns.

Caution: If the text won’t fit it the area you selected, you will get a warning that reads “Text will extend below selected range”. Choosing Cancel will stop the Fill operation. Choose OK and Excel will continue filling your text into the cells below the range. Anything already in those cells will be overwritten without further warning. This is probably a good time to remind you of the greatest keyboard shortcut of all time, Ctrl+Z, the shortcut for Undo.

In this example, I had you type everything into one cell. But the text can be on multiple rows too. In fact, that is the best way to work around the 255 character per line limit of Fill – Justify. If you place more than 255 characters into one cell and use the Justify command, you will lose everything after the 255th character (remember Ctrl+Z). But if you put some of that text in the next cell down and then use Justify, (make sure both cells are in your selected area) and all of the text will be distributed, just like in the first example.

The ability to justify multiple rows means you can even re-justify a block of text. If you edited your text after using Justify, select the range and Fill – Justify again. Text will move up or down within the range as needed.

 

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