Have you ever wished you had more space between columns on a spreadsheet, or between the cell contents and the cell border? Some people resort to inserting narrow empty columns between columns of data. But that interferes with the use of timesavers like keyboard navigation shortcuts or Fill Right, and doesn’t help if you’re using cell borders.

A better solution is to use the Cell Indent feature. This lets you indent cell contents from either the left or right edge of a cell. This is similar to the idea of cell padding when formatting a table in a word processor. You could also think of it as being able to adjust margins within a cell.

There are two ways to apply the indent. For either method, start by selecting the cell or cells you want to format. To select entire columns, simply click on the first column heading and then drag to select the range of columns you want. Then follow one of these two methods.

OPTION 1 – Formatting Button on the Ribbon
On the Home tab of the ribbon, find the Alignment section. There, along with the Align Left, Center, and Align Right buttons, you’ll see a button with a left arrow (Decrease Indent) and another with a right arrow (Increase Indent). Click the Increase Indent button one or more times to get the desired amount space from the cell edge. If you go too far, use the Decrease Indent button.

OPTION 2 – Format Cells Window
Right click on the cells you selected and choose Format Cells. At the Horizontal setting, select Left (Indent) or Right (Indent). Then use the Indent setting to select the number of spaces you want the cell contents to be indented. Click OK to save your changes.

If you want to know how to get space between the column heading underlines see my previous post about Accounting Underline.