Add a Line Break to Your Cell (Excel 2002/2003)

In most word applications, pressing Enter moves the cursor to the next line. This is not the case in the spreadsheet application Excel, which at times seems to have a mind of its own. When you press Enter in Microsoft Excel, it does not add a line break within a cell. Instead, it places the cursor in the cell below.

If you’re rather new to Excel, this can become a bit of an annoyance as you try to enter in data in your spreadsheet. The trick to this is that if you want to add a line break within a cell, press Alt + Enter instead of just Enter.

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  • Alma

    You have no idea how much I love you for telling me this. I was losing my mind trying to jump to the next line..

    Seriously, Thank you so much.

  • Michelle Torres

    Yes, thanks so much for this tip! It’s been a while since I’ve used Excel, so when I tried to do this recently, I couldn’t for the life of me remember how. You’re a lifesaver. :)

  • Ira Eisenstein
  • Lilin

    Diana, you are so great!!!!!!!!! I have wanted this solution for years. Now I reached your answer. Thank you so much for telling us.

  • Elise

    OMG thank you!! couldn’t remember this from high school computer classes.

  • Macman

    Line break in Excel using a Mac is Ctrl+Command(Apple key)+Enter

  • AO

    So, I know this is a “Window’s Fanatics” site, but to do this on a Mac, you have to use 3 buttons: “command+alt+return”

  • Craig

    Thanks for that tip…I’d tried shift+enter and CRTL+Enter and then went hunting around for the answer….now back to work!

  • HashG

    Ahhh! thank you and lotsa hugs diana huggins!

  • Sean

    Thanks a ton. I just took a class on excel and couldn’t remember that for the life of me!

  • Shahnawaz

    Many thanks for the amazing help. Now I won’t have to copy line breaks from Word ­čśÇ

  • Kim

    Legend! – So easy, thanks

  • Tejas

    Sheer Awesomeness!! Thanks!

  • ahmet izgi

    thans dude

  • Sirplus

    Ok that was fantastic

    Now can you answer this
    I have googled and can’t find it
    I wish to create a line break in a cell
    The cell content comes from a formula -not just text I typed in
    the vb code ie &chr(13)& doesn’t work

    Any ideas anyone?


  • Shift 3X

    I agree with the first comment. I love you too. I feel so free now.

  • Lay

    thank you, I just try with ctrl+enter and shift+enter. And i found your web, just alt+enter ­čśÇ

  • shermeen

    I have been using excel for YEARS and could never get pass this problem!!! finally, now there is a solution.THANK YOU!!

  • komal

    Thanks a lot for the tip, I was very much disturbed by this problem….

  • Thom Woodard

    How do you create a line break when you have a formula in the cell?

    Example: =”TOUGH”&”LUCK” = TOUGHLUCK

    but I want it read:
    in the cell. Alt+Enter doesn’t work neither does using Char(10) for a carriage return.
    If I put =”TOUGH”&Char(10)&”LUCK” then I get:
    In other words I get a little box instead of a carriage return. Please help!

  • Christy


    I just had to look up the char(10) thing. If you format the cells that you have this in to “wrap text” it will put the info on seperate lines and not use the [] thing!

    Hope this helps!

  • Eric
  • chaitra

    For Vista, Google docs and use Ctrl + enter for a line break.


  • Valter Carvalho

    It really helped me. Thank you, Diana!

  • Bill

    Aha! Thanks, Christy. I was looking for the same answer as Thom. Alt-Enter does TWO things… it inserts a CHAR(10) and it also sets the cell format to “wrap text”. I missed the second part, but it makes sense when it’s pointed out.

  • Joe

    Thanks a lot man for telling this. Greeaaat……!

  • Cam

    Yes brilliant tip, cheers


    I love simple solutions. THANKS, for sharing!

  • Dustin

    Thank you. For those of you who can’t get it to work, try the other alt. Somehow it didn’t work for me with the Right alt, only with the Left.

    Thanks again.

  • Arijeet

    Thanks a lot !!! Keep Up the good work…

  • John


    Thanks, very useful dude -works perfectly on my Windows PC.

    If you happen to be using a Mac you probably need to hold down Apple command, Left Alt, Right Alt, Escape, Tab and then press F15. I may have missed a key off there actually…

  • betty

    New to excell and spending hours trying to do a stupid chart.
    When I get to the second column and want to input a number when i click to go to the next cell it changes my number to a date. When I go to fx and say try something like ‘count’ it wants a formula. I am at two hours and no closer to an answer even going to excells tutor pages.

  • pia Niebel

    thanks macman!
    i was about to give up on excel

  • Rose

    You have no idea how much this helps! I love you!

  • Megan

    Thank you so much!! I live in excel, both Mac and Dell, so this site helped me tremendously!!

  • Sanjeewa

    its worth a million. thanx a lot.

  • ShaunRDC

    You just made my my life a lot easier. Thanks a ton


    Hi, i had the same problem that if i enter a formula, i could not have a brake line. but found a simpler way (worked on my excel 2007) than using “char(10)”;


    =”first line [press alt + enter]
    ” & “second line”

  • Kasun

    Wow.. thanks. Its nice..

  • Unni

    Thank You.

  • hillary

    THANK YOU I was going crazy!

  • tr

    thanks! this was a big help!

  • dea

    thanx !!!

  • c


  • Srinivas

    You are just simply awesome. Could not find the answer and searching for this since ages. Finally one google and first link is yours.
    Thanks a lot. :)

  • kakaroto

    Awesome ­čśÇ

  • Ray

    I am trying to replace a sequence of characters in a cell with a soft line feed (bad export from ‘DOORS’) using ctrl ‘H’ and not having any luck. :>(

  • yrs

    Finally we know thx

  • J

    Wiho – this is so great! Many thanks!

  • http://NA jayste

    How does this work on a mac

  • Danny

    Thank you! I’ve been wrestling with this for a long time, now, working around it by copying and pasting line breaks from web sites. This is great. :)

  • sifatsultan

    thanx a lot….u have solved this rlly annoying problem…

  • Murvanidze

    Simple and genious!
    Thanx man! God bless!

  • Micaela

    i have a mac, i still know where alt is but i did it and is not working and is driving me locaaaa!!!!! 

  • Micaela

    heyyyyyyy i did it!!!!!!!!! is CONTROL+OPTION+RETURN !!!!!!!!!!! i had to share my happiness :-)

    • Anonbro

      Mac user here.  Thanks Micaela, that worked.

  • ot

    how do you make a line break in word be shown in Excel (after a copy-paste). A sign with an arrow in shown, but not a line break in Excel !

  • Cjensen

    This works well EXCEPT:
    After you have saved the spread sheet – say as “MASTER”.
    And you do a “save as”┬ásay as “MASTER SORTED”┬áso that you can play with the spread sheet to sort items or to change the layouts, but still retaining the master spread sheet elsewhere.
    When you open “MASTER SORTED”┬áthe fields that you had done Alt+Enter in appear only as one line and you have to go into each of the fields to open them.┬á
    How do you keep these fields intact when you do a Save As?????????????????
    Signed: Getting a Migraine

  • James

    Thanks.  I needed this for Mac as well.

  • Neo An

    Did it, many thanks :*)