Alt-enter is your friend in Excel

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Mon, Mar 5 - 2:03 pm EDT | 12 years ago by
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Ever need to make a line break within an Excel cell?  Sure, when you are typing a long description (like invoices).  The secret to doing it is alt-enter.  Yep, simple as that:

Quickie Excel tip: When you’re typing text into a cell, by default hitting Enter takes you to the next cell. However, to wrap your text in the current cell as you type? Hit up Alt-Enter.

Check out some more Excel keyboard shortcuts.
Source: Excel Tip: Wrap text as you type with Alt-Enter – Lifehacker

Lifehacker is building a great list of shortcuts for Excel.  One of my favs is still the ctrl arrow key.  It jumps to the next filled cell.  If you combine that with shift, you get an ultra-powerful way to select a ton of data with one click.


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  • Andrew

    This is great.

    Although I need to know the escape sequence of this.

    I generate a excel file using java’s displaytag and POI. I would like to use it for a multi line caption.

    any ideas ?

    with thanks

  • Pete

    Alt-Enter is not your friend if you are on a Mac though. The equivalent has the non-obvious shortcut of option-command-enter.

  • ajay

    thanks for the tip Pete, worked great!

  • glagar

    Thank you so MUCH!!!! I have been trying to figure this out for a while!

  • Richard Gozinya

    My mac-loving boss says thanks very much!
    -Richard Gozinya

  • Perry

    I have a rather large spreadsheet that periodically uses alt+enter when demanded by the data. Let’s say the aspect of A2, call it 3, needs to be multiplied by an aspect of B2, which, using alt+enter, contains the values 1 and 2, but I only wish the multiply by a single part of the data. Is there a quick and copy-paste friendly (for example =A2*B2 is a formula that is replicated on copy-paste terms) available for my situation? In my imagination it would look like something along the lines of A2*B2b, where ‘a’ or ‘b’ would correspond to the top value (1) or the bottom value (2). Is this possible, or am I dreaming?


  • penny

    thanks for the mac tip! It was doing my head in.

  • Nick

    Thanks for the tip – the ONE thing I have been missing since i went from PC to MAC !

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