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Text Wrapping In Open Office Calc

When we work in spreadsheets we end up using text as well as numbers. I know that we like spreadsheets for their easy organization and ability to do calculations but let’s face it… you’ve got to label the data. A spreadsheet filled with unlabeled numbers is pretty useless.

With that in mind, I’d like to talk about what we can do when our text is too long for a single cell.

If we’re talking about a table title or something then we work on merging the cells and centering the text within the larger cell created by the merge.

But what if it’s not a title but rather just another label in a column of them?

What now?

Do we extend the column width to fit the text?

What if it’s something like this:


Do you really want to expand column A to the width of 7 columns?!?

I know that it’s never an option when I’m working so what else is there?

Well, just like with a word processor there’s text wrapping… only this time instead of wrapping at the end of a line of text the wrapping is done within a single cell.

With wrapping the above example becomes this:


While I realize that now the entire row is taller than the rest it’s still preferable to a column so wide that we can’t even view the data next to it without scrolling to the right!

And I have an even better “middle ground” to the too long vs. too tall issue presented with this particular example.

The thing to know is that when you change the column width Calc will rearrange the text to fit any column width you set. (You may need to adjust the row height yourself but the wrapped text is worth it!)


Does that look any better?

Yeah, I thought so too.

So, if you’re interested in wrapping text within your cells then here’s what you need to know.

First, select the cell or cells that you wish to format for text wrapping.

Now we’re off to the Format menu, Cells choice. (Crtl + 1 opens the Format Cells dialog box too!)

Once in the Format Cells dialog box we need the Alignment tab.


In the bottom section select the “Wrap text automatically” checkbox and click OK.

Voila! Text is now wrapped for those cells. Time to go out and replace the awkward looking stuff with formatting that really represents you well.

And, that’s a wrap… At least for today :)