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Changing Directions – Part 2 – MS Excel

Monday, November 15th, 2004 by | Filed Under: MS Excel

Changing Directions – Part 2 – MS Excel

Well, now that we’ve looked at the options for turning text in MS Word, let’s move on to MS Excel.

Excel allows for a lot of flex in text direction. You’re actually allowed to set the text angle as opposed to the limited choices of vertical and horizontal offered by Word.

So, let’s get started.

The first thing you need to do, as always, is figure out what needs to be changed. I usually get everything entered and then start making text direction and formatting changes.

But, whatever your preferred work order, you need to answer that first crucial question. What needs to be changed?

Once you know the answer to your question then you’re ready to go.

Highlight the cell(s) that contain text to be changed.

(All highlighted cells will be affected in the same way, therefore, if you need several different changes then you will have to repeat the process for each of the desired outcomes. You may also want to use the Control key to highlight non-adjacent cells to be changed.)

At any rate, once the highlighting is done, go to the Format menu, Cells choice. (Ctrl + 1 works too!)

Once the Format Cells window opens you’ll need to go to the Alignment tab.

On the right-hand side of the tab there is a section devoted to the Orientation of the text in the cell.


The box on the top left will have text run vertically exactly as you see the word text printed in the box. Click on the box, if this is your choice, then click OK.

The other two items in the orientation section will allow you to put text on an angle.

If you’re good with angle degrees then you can simply set the desired number in the “Degrees” box and click OK.

However, I find I like the other option for rotating text much better (and I’m good with degrees—go figure since I teach math). The box on the upper right side (it looks like half a clock) will allow you to rotate text and display what the text will look like all at once.

To use this option grab (click and hold) the red diamond at the end of the text line in the “clock”.


Now simply drag (while still holding down the mouse button) the diamond up or down.

You’ll find that the word text will change, showing you the result of the rotation.

Once you’ve found the angle you need let go of the mouse button and then click OK.

If you decide that you want the text back to normal either click the undo button or use this method to reset the text to an angle of 0 degrees.

That’s it. You should now have rotated text in the highlighted cells.

~ April

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