How Do You Insert Line Break in Excel?

Double-click the cell you want to insert a line break in, click the location where you want to break the line, Press ALT+ENTER to insert the line break.

Line breaks allow you to store more data in one cell, which may be useful for some Excel projects. For example, line breaks are a must-have if you want to create unique and creative worksheets. Learn how to start a new line of text inside a cell in Excel today. 

An example of when you might need multiple lines of text in a cell is mailing labels, company details, or personal information. These things are commonly needed for invoices and other business documents.

Luckily, Excel doesn’t only allow you to take care of the mathematics behind your worksheets. It also provides you with many customization options. Line breaks allow you to make personalized spreadsheets while taking advantage of Excel’s powerful formulas, charts, and other features.

how to insert line break in excel


Table of Contents 

How to start a new line in an Excel cell

Excel users might notice that the often universal Shift + Enter keyboard shortcut doesn’t work with this software. Instead, you need to use different methods to start a new line and get your data the way you want it to appear.

The methods below work for all desktop versions of Excel. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be using the latest Microsoft Excel 2019 release. For mobile instructions, look below.

Method 1. Use a keyboard shortcut

A shortcut is the easiest way to start a new line of text or add spacing between text in a worksheet cell. Again, “Shift + Enter” doesn’t work in Excel. You’ll need to use a different combination to space out your lines.

  1. First, double-click the cell in which you want to insert a line break to begin editing it. This cell can be empty or contain data already.
  2. Position the blinking cursor at the location inside the selected cell where you want to break the line.
    use keyboard shortcut

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  3. Press the Alt + Enter keys on your keyboard. You should immediately notice that the line break is inserted for you.

Method 2. Use the Find & replace tool

In some cases, you might be able to make use of the classic find & replace tool for inserting line breaks. This is useful if you have consistently formatted data, and want to get it broken down quickly.

In this example, we’ll use a data sheet that has a comma (,) at each desired line break. However, you can use other symbols as well. Take note that this method will replace the symbol in your entire worksheet.

  1. Select all the cells containing the data you want to split into new lines.
  2. Switch to the Home tab, and then click on the Find & Select button from the Editing section on the far right.
    use the find and replace tool
  3. From the context menu, select Replace. A new pop-up window will appear.
    use the find and replace tool
  4. A pop-up window should appear on your screen. Type a comma (,), and then space ( ) character into the “Find what:” field.
    use the find and replace tool
  5. In the “Replace with:” field, press Ctrl + J to insert a carriage return. Alternatively, if you'd like to keep the commas, type a comma (,) and then press the shortcut.
    use the find and replace tool
  6. Click the Replace All button to instantly format all of the selected fields and insert line breaks.
    use the find and replace tool

Tip: If you don’t see any changes after completing the steps above, don’t worry! You most likely don’t have text wrapping enabled. Skip to our next section to learn how to wrap text in Excel.

Method 3. Tap the New Line button on Android

Android users can enjoy Excel line breaks to their fullest extent. Here are the instructions on how to insert a line break on Excel for Android operating systems.

  1. First, double-tap the cell in which you want to insert a line break to begin editing it. This cell can be empty or contain data already.
  2. Tap once on the spot where you want to place a line break, and then tap the blue cursor that pops up.
    tap the new line button on android
  3. Tap New Line in the context menu.
    tap the new line button on android

Method 4. Line break for iOS

At the time of writing, you can’t start a new line of text in the same cell when working with Excel for iPhone.

If a method has been added, we’ll be sure to update this article as soon as possible. Return for any future updates on the matter, or subscribe to our newsletter to get early access to our upcoming articles!

How to enable Wrap text in Excel

In order to properly display line breaks in Excel, you need to enable text wrapping. Without it, the cells will only display the first line of text, even if you’ve already broken the data down into multiple lines.

This is a simple process that may save you a lot of headaches. Follow the guide below to learn how to enable Wrap text in Excel.

  1. First, select the cell holding your data, or select multiple cells you added line breaks to.
  2. Switch to the Home tab in your ribbon. This is the first tab after the File menu button. Here, click on the Wrap Text button, as highlighted in the image below.
    how to enable wrap text in excel

Final thoughts

We hope this article helped you learn how to insert a line break in Microsoft Excel. Now, you have multiple ways of further customizing or improving your data. Don’t worry — you can still sort, analyze, and work with cells even if they have line breaks.

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