[Libs-Or] Tech-Talk: EXCEL/G-Sheets – Wrap Text in a Cell Automatically

HANNING Darci C * SLO Darci.HANNING at slo.oregon.gov
Tue Jun 15 09:00:31 PDT 2021

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This Week's Topic: EXCEL/G-Sheets

1. ARTICLE & VIDEO ... Wrap Text in a Cell Automatically
2. COMMUNICATING ... A magic phrase for gaining buy-in
3. LEADERSHIP ... Introducing Covey's Quadrant II

·     June 23: [EXCEL] Simple Formulas to Make Spreadsheet Calculations Easier
·     July 7: [VIDEO] Breeze Through Video-Making in Canva
·     July 21: [EXCEL/G-SHEETS] Create Pivot Tables and Pivot Table Charts

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Questions about Tech-Talk?

EXCEL/G-Sheets – Wrap Text in a Cell Automatically

Have you ever been working in a spreadsheet where the text you want to use was too wide for the cell ... but you didn't want to widen the column? What can you do? Wrap the text!

The Wrap Text feature instantly adjusts the text in the cell to roll over into a second line. Excel automatically modifies the height of the row as well. A perfect solution! Now you see several lines of text neatly packed into the width of the column.

[wrap text]


TIP: Sometimes, the text wraps to the width of the column, but the row height doesn't shift. Bummer. (See example on the right where the text is cut off!) Why didn't it automatically adjust? There are some situations where it doesn't.

Let's take a look at not only how to use the Wrap Text feature in Excel and Google Sheets -- but also the trick to letting Excel make the cell height adjustments for you.

Wrap Text in Excel

When you have a cell (or whole column) that has content in it that is too long for the width of it, instead of making the column wider, you can "wrap" the text so that it flows over into another line automatically, still in that same cell.

[Excel wrap]

[Excel wrap text]

·     Click in the cell, or the whole column.

·     On the Home tab, in the Alignment group, click Wrap Text.

·     The content in the cell will wrap automatically to fit the column width.

Now, Excel should also automatically adjust the row height to make all of the wrapped cell content visible. If it does not -- it's because you have manually adjusted the row height (or the column width) yourself at some point. That sort of disengages the auto Wrap Text.

NOTE: You can often toggle the auto text back on. Put your cursor in the cell you want to wrap, then click on Wrap Text. If nothing happens, click it again. And possibly a third time. This trick works quite often, but not always. You may have to adjust the height or width yourself.


To Adjust the Row Height Yourself

If you do need to adjust the row height manually so that all wrapped text is viewable:

Hover on the line at the bottom of the row that you want to adjust (between the row numbers) and when the cursor turns into a line with a double arrow crossing it, drag the line to the height that you want.


[adjust row height]

·     Click in the cell (or range of cells) for which you want to adjust the row height.

·     On the Home tab, in the Cells group, click Format.

·     Under Cell Size, either: 1) To automatically adjust the row height, click AutoFit Row Height, or 2) To specify a row height, click Row Height, and then type the row height that you want in the box.

Wrap Text in Google Sheets

In Google Sheets, if you want to use the Wrap Text feature:

·     Highlight the cell(s) with the text you want to wrap.

·     In the menu go to Format and choose Text Wrapping and then Wrap.

·     The Row height will adjust with the wrap. However, if you want to modify it, just put your cursor on the line below the row until it turns into a double arrow and then drag it to the desired height.

[Google Sheets]


Communicating: Writing
A magic phrase for gaining buy-in

How do you feel about the phrase, "fair and reasonable?"

They go together well, don't you think? They pack a powerful punch for gaining agreement on something specific such as a project deadline, a budget amount or an approach.

·     "Is the end of next week a fair and reasonable deadline?"
·     "Does $1,500 sound like a fair and reasonable budget?"
·     "Would talking to students first be a fair and reasonable approach?"

Here's a Twist

You can also gain insight to unspoken assumptions by asking this as an open-ended question of someone...

·     "What would be a fair and reasonable date to have this finished?"
·     "What would you consider as a fair and reasonable budget amount?"
·     "What do you think would be a fair and reasonable approach to this project?"

Typically, you'll find others tell you exactly what they are thinking when you use these two words so that you can come to an understanding quickly and agreeably.


Introducing Covey's Quadrant II

"Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most,” Abraham Lincoln.

I saw this quote and thought it might be a good way to introduce you to the idea that investing some time in Quad II activity is a desirable thing. It requires a little discipline (to not put it off, to deal with a grumbling team, to set aside dedicated time), but it pays off in big ways.

What is Quad II activity, you say? Simply put it's taking time to focus on, and execute, activities that will make a difference. They are Important, but not Urgent (e.g. training, implementing a new process, holding a communication meeting). They are the items you plan to do, hope to do, meant to do ... but don't get around to it.

Watch for more leadership articles on Stephen Covey's Quadrant. It's a powerful tool for managers and individuals to use ... at work and in life.


Quadrant Image from BishopHouse.com

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Darci Hanning, MLIS (she/her/hers)
Public Library Consultant / CE Coordinator
State Library of Oregon | Library Support and Development Services
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