Google Sheets Cheat Sheet

How To Wrap Text In Google Sheets

Select the cell/s you want to wrap and in the toolbar click on one of these options (the middle one is technically for text 'wrapping'):

wrap text icons in the google sheets toolbar

In Google Sheets you have three text wrapping options:

  1. Overflow: The text 'overflows' into neighboring empty cells. This is the default setting. If neighbouring cells are not empty, the cell's wrapping will be clipped.
  2. Wrap: The text is 'wrapped' onto multiple lines within the cell. If the column is not wide enough to hold the text, the entire row (not just one cell) will automatically become taller.
  3. Clip: All excess text beyond the width of the cell is hidden.

Here's what these options look like in a sheet:

ABC
1Text WrappingExample
2Overflow (default)This text is far too long
3WrapThis text is far too long
4ClipThis text is far too long

You can select these options in three ways (you can click on an option to go to that section):

  1. Toolbar
  2. Format menu
  3. Keyboard shortcut

I'm also going to tell you:

Wrap Text Using The Toolbar

STEP 1: Select the cell, range, column, and/or row you want to wrap:

Click On The Cells You Want To Text Wrap

You can make multiple separate selections by holding down Ctrl (Windows, Chrome OS) or (Mac) while you click.

STEP 2: Click on the 'Text wrapping' icon in the toolbar:

highlights the location of the text wrapping options in the google sheets toolbar

STEP 3: In the dropdown, click on either the 'Overflow', 'Wrap', or 'Clip' icon to set the formatting of your selection:

text wrapping options (overflow, wrap, and clip) in the dropdown from the google sheets toolbar

TRY IT: You can practice using the text wrapping toolbar buttons right now:

ABC
1Text WrappingExample
2Overflow (default)This text is far too long
3WrapThis text is far too long
4ClipThis text is far too long

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Wrap Text Using The Format Menu

STEP 1: Select the cells, ranges, columns, and/or rows you want to wrap:

Click On The Cells You Want To Text Wrap

STEP 2: Click on the Format menu item:

location of the format menu in google sheets

STEP 3: Hover over Text wrapping in the dropdown and in the menu that appears, click on either Overflow, Wrap, or Clip to set the formatting of your selection:

location of the text wrapping options in the format menu in google sheets

TRY IT: You can practice using the FormatText wrapping menu right now:

Overflow
Wrap
Clip
ABC
1Text WrappingExample
2Overflow (default)This text is far too long
3WrapThis text is far too long
4ClipThis text is far too long

Wrap Text Using A Keyboard Shortcut

STEP 1: Select the cells, ranges, columns, and/or rows you want to wrap:

Click On The Cells You Want To Text Wrap

STEP 2: Use the following shortcuts (shortcuts for Windows shown):

where to find wrap text keyboard shortcuts for google sheets

That screenshot doesn't tell the whole story though.

There's actually a shortcut for each of the text wrapping options (on Windows & Chrome OS):

When it says Alt/Option + Key, Key, Key it means hold Alt/Option the whole time and type the other keys one at a time in that order.

Here's a clip of me using all of these shortcuts (on Windows):

demonstration of text wrapping keyboard shortcuts

To see all shortcuts available to you in Google Sheets you can:

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut (how meta) Ctrl + / (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + / (Mac), or
  2. Click on the Help menu item and select Keyboard shortcuts in the dropdown:
how to access all google sheets keyboard shortcuts

Make Text Wrap The Default In Google Sheets

Currently there's no way to change the default text wrapping from Overflow.

However, you can change the wrapping of every cell in a sheet.

You do this by clicking on the square in the top left of a sheet (between the 'A' column label and '1' row label) to select all cells:

clicking on the square in the top left of a google sheet allows you to select every cell in that sheet

Now you can change the text wrapping from Overflow to Wrap or Clip.

It's not a perfect solution but it gets the job done.

Wrap Text On The Google Sheets iPhone Or iPad App

STEP 1: Select the cell, range, column, or row you want to wrap by touching them.

STEP 2: Touch the formatting icon above the sheet:

location of text formatting option in google sheets iphone or ipad mobile app

STEP 3: Navigate to the 'Cell' tab of the formatting menu and check the 'Wrap text' option:

specific location of wrap text options in google sheets iphone or ipad mobile app

Here's a clip of the iPhone/iPad text wrapping process:

demonstration of how to wrap text in google sheets iphone or ipad mobile app

Wrap Text On The Google Sheets Android App

STEP 1: Select the cell, range, column, or row you want to wrap by touching them.

STEP 2: Touch the formatting icon above the sheet:

location of text formatting option in google sheets android mobile app

STEP 3: Navigate to the 'Cell' tab of the formatting menu, scroll down and check the 'Wrap text' option:

specific location of wrap text options in google sheets android mobile app

Here's a clip of the Android text wrapping process:

demonstration of how to wrap text in google sheets android mobile app

Google Sheets Text Wrapping Not Working?

Here's why each setting might not work and what you can do to fix it:

Overflow is not working

There is text in neighboring cells

Overflow only works when the neighboring cells it can overflow into are empty.

When neighboring cells are not empty, overflow behaves just like clip:

gif of how to fix overflow format by making sure the neighboring cell is empty

The column is too wide

If the column is wide enough to fit the text it won't overflow into a neighboring cell:

gif of how to fix overflow format by increasing column width

Wrap is not working

The column is too wide

If the column is wide enough to fit the text it won't wrap onto more than one line:

gif of how to fix wrap format by increasing column width

If you want text in a wide cell to contain more than one line, you can enter a line break within a cell by typing Alt + Enter or Ctrl + Enter (Windows, Chrome OS) or Option + Enter or ⌘ + Enter (Mac):

gif of how to fix wrap format by inserting a line break in a cell

Words are being wrapped

When a column is wide, wrap creates a line break using spaces and keeps all words whole to help with readability.

When a column is narrow (or a word is very long), wrap becomes more aggressive and, when needed, will wrap a single word across multiple lines.

gif of how to fix wrap format when a word is too long

To avoid this add spaces, your own line breaks, or increase the width of the column.

Clip is not working

The column is too wide

If the column is wide enough to fit the text it won't be clipped:

gif of how to fix clip format by increasing column width

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Google Sheets Cheat Sheet

Learn 12 tips and tactics that will make your sheets more beautiful and user-friendly from today.

Google Sheets Cheat Sheet

By entering your email address you agree to get email updates from me. I'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Kieran Dixon started using spreadsheets in 2010. He leveled-up his skills working for banks and running his own business. Now he makes Google Sheets and Apps Script more approachable for anyone looking to streamline their business and life.