Weekly Computer Tip # 326
7 January 2011

Make all cell content visible
(Excel 97-2007)

This week's tip is inspired by a request from one of my clients to submit a proposal. The form I had to complete was created in Excel and a remark was made that "Excel has a limit of 255 characters per cell." I kept schtum about it (after all, it wasn't a request for Excel training) and tried to keep my answers as brief as possible. (255 characters isn't a lot though!) But I would like to take this opportunity to put the record straight...

In Excel 97 and later you can have up to 32,000 characters in a cell (even though I managed to squeeze in 32,767 ;) but only the first 1,024 characters are displayed by default. However, you can increase the number of characters you will see in a variety of ways.

Here's how:

  1. Wrap your text. (Right-click the cell and select Formal Cells. In the Alignment tab, Under Text control, select the Wrap text check box, and then click OK. Or if you are using Excel 2007 you will find a Wrap Text button on the Home tab, in the Alignment group.) AND/OR
  2. If all wrapped text isn't visible adjust your row height. (Right-click anywhere in the row and select Row Height.) The maximum is 409. AND/OR
  3. Change the column width. (Right-click on the column's letter and select Column Width.) The maximum is 255. AND/OR (I like this one...)
  4. Press ALT+ENTER to force your text to go to the next line in a single cell, there were your insertion point is.

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