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How to Start a New Line in Excel in Windows and Mac Systems

July 31, 2023 1.9K views

Excel can help us store, manage, and organize loads of data in spreadsheets. When editing text within Excel, one often needs to create a new line within the same cell. However, not everyone knows how to do this effectively.

The question is how to quickly create a new line within the same cell in Excel.

Here are six ways to start a new line in Excel in Windows and Mac systems.

1. How to Use the Alt + Enter Keyboard Shortcut for Manual Line Breaks

You can add an Excel new line in cell by using a keyboard shortcut to manually add the line in the cell. You will be using the following shortcut on your keyboard:

Keyboard Formula for Windows Users: ALT + Enter

Keyboard Formula for Mac Users: Control + Option + Enter

line break in excel

line break in excel

Here are the steps:

  1. Select the cell where you want to add an Excel new line in cell by double-clicking it. You can also use the F2 key to start the edit mode for manually adding the line break.

  2. Place the pointer on the cell where you want to manually add the line break.

  3. Simultaneously press the ALT and Enter keys if you are inserting the line break in Windows.

  4. To insert the line break using Mac, simultaneously press the Control and Option keys and then press the Enter key.

 Pros

  • One of the fastest manual methods

  • Easy to conduct

Cons

  • It might be time-consuming for those who aren't familiar with using keyboards

2. How to Use Wrap Text to Start a New Line in Excel

Using Microsoft Excel, you can use Wrap Text to add an excel new line in the cell. If you are not manually breaking the line, you can format the cell in Excel in a way to add a new text line or add spacing between the lines/ paragraphs of text in an Excel cell.

Here are the steps:

  1. Choose the cell that you want to formalize in the Excel worksheet.

  2. Go to the "Alignment" group on the "Home" tab and select the option of "Wrap Text."

  3. If you are using Excel on your desktop, you can press the following keys simultaneously after selecting the cell: Alt + H + W

  4. If the wrapped text is not visible, you will want to adjust the row's height.

line break using wrap text

Pros

  • Fast method

  • Easy to operate

  • The users can adjust the row height easily

Cos

  • Excel sheet might not have a neat appearance

3. How to use Text to Columns to start a new line in Excel

You can use Text-to-Columns to split excel new line in cell. Using this method, you will split a cell and place each line into its respective cell. With this method, you will use a Carriage Return (Ctrl + J) as the delimiter.

Using this formula, you will tell Excel to split the data into individual lines within a cell.

Here are the steps:

1. Choose the cell to split the data.

2. Select the button "Text to Columns" on the Data tab.

3. Choose the option "Delimited" and proceed to click on "Next."

selection of the option delimited


4. On the subsequent window, you will want to check "Other" while unchecking the other options.

5. Hit "Ctrl + J" in the blank space next to it. Here "Ctrl + J" is the short formula for carriage, which basically represents an excel new line in cell.

data preview for Ctrl + J


6. If you want to change the destination cells where the data will go, you will want to click on "Next."

7. Select "Finish" when you are satisfied with the format.

Pros

  • Easy splitting of long texts into separate columns

  • Quick way of separating numerous values stored within a single Excel cell

  • Split data based on delimiters

Cons

  • It can take more time to split long text strings

4. How to Use the CONCATENATE Function to Start a New Line in Excel

By using line breaks in Excel, you can end the current textual line and start a new line within the same cell.

You can use the CONCATENATE function to add excel new line in cell by combining text from different cells with line breaks as the separator.

The formula breakdown for CONCATENATE is the following:

CONCATENATE (text1, text 2, text 3, and so on)

Adding a double quotation with a space between the text strings will add space between the selected texts. With the CONCATENATE function, you can merge two or more two text strings into a single string.

The CONCATENATE function is specifically used to start a new line in Excel when combining texts from different cells with a formula.

Understanding the CHAR ( ) Function

With the CONCATENATE FUNCTION, you can add a new line in cell and break the text string with the CHAR ( ) function. The CHAR ( ) function uses a specified number (from 1 to 255) to return a character.

You will want to add CHAR (10) between your formula to enter an Excel new line in cell. Subsequently, select "WRAP TEXT" to the text in respective separate lines.

Here are the steps:

1. Select a blank cell and enter the CONCATENATE Excel function.

entering the CONCATENATE Excel function


2. Use the following arguments for the CONCATENATE function: text1, [text2], [text3] …

3. Select the columns for the text that you want to join together, which will be A12, B12, C12, and D12 in the given example.

display of joining columns together


4. Proceed to add the CHAR(10) function in the following way to add a line break between each text:

CONCATENATE (A12, CHAR(10), B12, CHAR(10), C12, CHAR(10), D12)

display of CHAR(10) function


5. While dragging the lower right corner in the downward direction, you can apply the same formula for other cells.

6. Click on Home and choose the "Wrap Text" option to display the text in multiple lines.

display of Wrap Text option


7. Enjoy the results.

Pros

  • Makes data easier to read

  • Can accelerate one's work speed

  • Easy to operate

Cons

  • There are limitations (maximum 253 arguments for text items)

5. How to Use Formulas to Insert Line Breaks in Excel

You can add an excel new line in cell with formulas.

Here are the different formulas you can use to insert line breaks in Excel.

  • Use the Alt + Enter Shortcut in Excel formulas

  • Use the CHAR function in the Excel formula

Here are the steps:

Steps for Using the Alt + Enter Shortcut in Excel Formulas

1. Select the cell containing the long formula

2. Drag down the bottom part of the Formula Bar to make it taller.

3. Click the place in the formula where you want to insert a line break.

4. Be careful of clicking after a comma instead of a rage reference to not impact the formula calculation.

use of the comma in Excel formula


5. Press Alt + Enter to add a line in the formula cell.

6. Keep adding lines where you need them.

7. Complete the formula change by selecting the "Enter" key.

Steps for Using the CHAR Function in the Excel Formula

Using the Excel CHAR function, you will combine it with other formula parts. Use the CHAR function with character code 10 for its argument.

CHAR function with character code 10


You will be referring to the above-depicted example to understand the steps. The formula result shows the initial name from column B, which is followed by a line break, which is then followed by the last name written in column A.

1. Select C2, where the formula will determine the full name.

2. To start the formula, type the "=" sign.

3. Select B2 to add the respective cell reference to the formula.

4. Follow with typing the "&" operator.

5. Follow with CHAR (10) to add a line and a break in the formula result.

6. Follow with typing the "&" operator.

7. Select A2 to add its cell to the formula.

8. The complete formula will be the following:

line break formula result


9. Select the "Enter" key to complete the formula.

10. The cell might not display the line break yet, so you will want to turn on the "Wrap Text" setting.

11. After selecting the cell with the formula, go to the Home tab.

12. Select the "Wrap Text" button in the Alignment Group.

13. The formatting will change, and you will see the line break in the cell.

Pros

  • Improve the readability of complex formulas

Cons

  • It can be time-consuming

6. How to Create a VBA Macro to Insert Line Breaks in Excel

VBA codes can contain lengthy lines of code, which can affect readability. In this case, it is best to know how to insert line breaks in Excel.

Refer to the below-given image to see the difference between one long line and the same line being separated into three lines integrating line continuation characters.

VBA line break example


Number one is an example of a VBA macro with one long line.

Number two is an example of the same VBA macro broken into three lines with line-continuation characters.

The second example shows that the first two lines contain an underscore at the end of each line.

Here are the steps:

  1. Click on the character in the VBA macro from where you want to break the line.

  2. Proceed to type a ( ) space.

  3. Follow with an (_) underscore.

  4. Press "Enter" to complete the line break.

Pros

  • Easy to operate

  • Fast execution speed

Cons

  • The performance of VBA programs might get affected

If you find all the above-mentioned methods cumbersome, try the best alternative, WPS Office, to start a new line in an Excel cell.

How to Create a Line Break inside a cell with WPS Office

Here are the steps:

  1. Download WPS Office.

  2. Open the spreadsheet in WPS Office.

  3. Select the cell and place the pointer where you want to insert a line break.

  4. Press Alt + Enter on your keyboard simultaneously.

Steps for the Alternative Method:

  1. Download WPS Office.

  2. Open the spreadsheet in WPS Office.

  3. Select the cell and place the pointer where you want to insert a line break.

  4. Double-click where you want a line break.

  5. Go to the "Home" tab and click the "Wrap Text" button.

FAQs

Q. How do I make multiple lines in an Excel cell?

A. Here are the steps to make multiple lines in an Excel cell:

  • Click on the cell where you need to enter multiple textual lines.

  • Type the first line.

  • Press the two keyboard keys of "Alt" and "Enter" simultaneously.

  • Type the subsequent lines.

  • Press "Enter" to save changes.

Q. How do you enter and stay in the same cell?

A. You can enter a cell and stay in the same cell with the following shortcut keys:

In Excel, you can enter and stay in the same cell by pressing the two keyboard keys of "Ctrl" and "Enter" simultaneously instead of pressing the "Enter" key.

Q. How do I add a blank row between rows in Excel?

A. Here are the steps:

  • Select the cell where you want to add a blank row.

  • Proceed to press "Shift" and "Space" simultaneously.

  • Choose the number of blank rows you want to add.

  • Click right and select the "Insert" option from the selection.

Add New Line in Excel Cell with WPS Office

All the methods mentioned in the list have some limitations and can impact one's productivity and workflow. If you want to ensure that you can effectively add Excel new line in cell without any problems, you will want to consider adding new lines in the Excel cell with WPS Office.

All you need to do is to enter the shortcut keys "Alt" and "Enter" together to start a new line in Excel. You can immensely benefit from the compatibility of WPS Office with Microsoft Excel. You will have no problems using, opening, editing, and saving Excel files with WPS Office.

Search for "WPS Office Suite" online and download the software on your device. WPS Office is available for Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux.


15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.