Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Alignment and Orientation
Alignment and Orientation
As you learned in the previous chapter, Excel automatically aligns cells according
to the type of information you’ve entered. But what if this automatic alignment isn’t
what you want? Fortunately, in the Format Cells dialog box, the Alignment tab lets
you easily change alignment as well as control some other interesting settings, like
the ability to rotate text.
Excel lets you control the position of content between a cell’s left and right borders,
known as the horizontal alignment . Excel offers the following choices for horizontal
alignment, some of which are shown in Figure 16-9:
• General is the standard type of alignment; it aligns cells to the right if they hold
numbers or dates and to the left if they hold text.
• Left (Indent) tells Excel to always line up content with the left edge of the cell.
You can also choose an indent value to add some extra space between the
content and the left border.
• Center tells Excel to always center content between the left and right edges of
• Right (Indent) tells Excel to always line up content with the right edge of the
cell. You can also choose an indent value to add some extra space between the
content and the right border.
• Fill copies content multiple times across the width of the cell, which is almost
never what you want.
• Justify is the same as Left if the cell content fits on a single line. When you insert
text that spans more than one line, Excel justifies every line except the last one,
which means Excel adjusts the space between words to try and ensure that both
the right and left edges line up.
• Center Across Selection is a bit of an oddity. When you apply this option to a
single cell, it has the same effect as Center. If you select more than one adjacent
cell in a row (for example, cell A1, A2, A3), this option centers the value in the
first cell so that it appears to be centered over the full width of all cells. However,
this happens only as long as the other cells are blank. This setting may confuse
you a bit at first because it can lead to cell values being displayed over cells in
which they aren’t stored. Another approach to centering large text titles and
headings is to merge cells (as described on page 454), but Excel purists prefer
Center Across Selection because it doesn’t muck with the worksheet’s structure.
• Distributed (Indent) is the same as Center—if the cell contains a numeric value
or a single word. If you add more than one word, then Excel enlarges the spaces
between words so that the text content fills the cell perfectly (from the left edge
to the right edge).
Vertical alignment controls the position of content between a cell’s top and bottom
border. Vertical alignment becomes important only if you enlarge a row’s height so
that it becomes taller than the contents it contains. To change the height of a row, click