Change line spacing in Excel

Applies to
Microsoft Office Excel 2003
Microsoft Excel 2002

Unlike more text-oriented Microsoft Office programs such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Publisher, Excel does not have a single command that controls line spacing. However, by distributing the contents of a cell vertically and then adjusting the row height, you can create additional space between multiple lines of text in a single cell.

Vertically distribute lines of text in a cell

  1. Select the cells that you want to adjust.
  2. Right-click any selected cell, and then click Format Cells.
  3. On the Alignment tab, in the Vertical box, click Distributed.
  4. Under Text control, select the Wrap text check box, and then click OK.

 Note   To see the effect of vertical distribution, the cell must either contain wrapped lines of text or manual line breaks. To insert a line break in a cell, press ALT+ENTER.

Adjust row height

  1. Select the rows that you want to adjust.
  2. To automatically adjust the row height, point to Row on the Format menu, and then click AutoFit.

The height of each row that contains a selected cell will be adjusted to fit the cell with the most lines of text in that row (with single line spacing).

  1. To set a specific row height, point to Row on the Format menu, click Height, and then type a new value in the Row Height box.

ShowHow is row height measured?

Row height and line size

The default height of a row in Excel depends on the font and maximum font size used in that row. In Excel, the default font is 10-point Arial. For this combination of font and font size, the height of a cell with one line of text is 12.75 points.

So to allow room in that cell for two lines of text, you can specify a height of 25.5 points (12.75 × 2). Or to add room for an empty line between two lines of text, you can make the row height 38.25 points (12.75 × 3).

 Note   The automatic row height can vary for different fonts, even if they are set at the same point size.

Measurement units for rows

When you specify a height in the Row Height box, the measurement is displayed in points. When you drag the boundary below a row heading to adjust the height of a row on the worksheet, a ScreenTip displays the measurement first in points, and then in pixels (in parentheses).

 Note   These default units of measurement cannot be changed in Excel 2003.

The following table shows the approximate conversion of inches to points and pixels.

Inches Points Pixels
2 144 192
1.5 108 144
1 72 96
.5 36 48
.25 18 24
Applies to:
Excel 2003