What Does ALT + Enter Do in Excel?

The Alt + Enter is a useful shortcut that allows you to insert a line break within a cell.

In this guide, we’ll explain what the Alt + Enter shortcut does and how to use it to make your Excel work more streamlined.

Moreover, we’ll also talk about some of the benefits of using the Alt + Enter shortcut.

What Does Alt + Enter Do in Excel? 

When you press the Alt + Enter within Microsoft Excel, a line break is added, which starts a new line of text within the same cell.

This is useful when you need to enter a long text string that does not fit in the cell. So you can divide the long text into separate lines in the cell.

For instance, you could use Alt-Enter in Excel when you have the complete contact information in a cell and you want to have the name, phone number, and email address in consecutive yet independent lines in the same cell (as seen below).

Long text in Excel cell

Let’s begin with a straightforward example: cell A1 holds text containing a full name, phone number, and email on one line.

Having line breaks to add extra spacing would make this text more readable.

  1. To insert a line break, double-click on cell A1 to enter Edit Mode (you can also use the F2 shortcut to enable edit mode).
  1. Then, click on the desired location in the cell where you would like to insert the line break. In the example, we want to insert a line break after the name John Smith, so I will have to place the cursor after the name.
Place the cursor where you want the line break
  1. Finally, hold down the ALT key and press the Enter key to insert the line break. You will see that the text after the cursor now moves to the next line in the same cell (as shown below).
Press ALT Enter

To add additional line breaks, you’ll still need to press the Alt + Enter keys at the same time. 

Repeat this two more times so that each of the three pieces of information – name, phone number, and email – are each on their own line. 

Simply place the cursor just before the phone number and press Alt + Enter to add a line break.

Do this as many times as you need so that each of the pieces of information (in the example its name, phone number, and email) are each on their own line.

Multiple line breaks in the same cell

Tips for Using ALT + Enter in Excel

There are a few tips you should keep in mind when using Alt+Enter in Excel.

First, remember that Alt+Enter only works if you’re entering text into a cell.

If you’re entering numerical data or formulas, you’ll need to use the cell’s size handles to adjust the row size instead.

Second, remember that Alt+Enter won’t automatically wrap the text in the cell. You’ll need to select your cell and then click the “Wrap Text” button on the Home tab of the ribbon.

So there you have it! Using the Alt+Enter shortcut is pretty intuitive, and allows you to add more data in the same cell by adding line breaks.

Using the Alt+Enter key in Excel can help to make your workload more efficient and organized.

Also read: How to Combine First and Last Names in Excel?

What is the Mac Equivalent of ALT + Enter for Line Breaks?

In Excel for Mac, the equivalent of the Windows shortcut Alt + Enter is Option + Return.

This shortcut allows users to insert a line break within a cell.

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