How To Use "Enter" in Excel (With 4 Methods and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 8, 2022

Many professionals create and work with Excel spreadsheets regularly to generate reports and convey information. The visual appeal of a spreadsheet can enhance the readability of the document, and using tools, such as "Enter," can help spreadsheet creators improve the look of the database. Learning how to use "Enter," or line breaks, in Excel can help you create a spreadsheet that is visually appealing and simple to understand.

In this article, we review why you might use the "Enter" key on your keyboard in Excel, explain how to use line breaks and provide several tips to help you use this tool.

Related: How To Learn Excel for Office Work: A Complete Guide

Why use "Enter" in Excel

There are a few reasons to use "Enter" in Excel. When you press "Enter" with no other input, you move the current active cell to the one below. Another reason professionals use this key is to add a line break to improve their spreadsheet's readability. This can help readers better understand the information within the spreadsheet in printed and digital format. Many professionals input a line break:

  • At the end of a sentence

  • To separate paragraphs

  • At the end of a formula or calculation

  • To enhance the readability of certain functions

Related: How To Make Paragraphs in Excel in 6 Steps (Plus Tips)

How to use "Enter" in Excel

Researching different methods to input line breaks can help you find the method that you prefer. Review these four methods to help you enter a line break in your Excel spreadsheet:

Active cell method

Review these steps to help you input a line break within an active cell:

  1. Select the cell you want to add a line break.

  2. Double-click on the area you want to add a line break.

  3. Press "Alt" with "Enter" on your keyboard.

  4. If you're using a keyboard with a different operating system, you can press "Control," "Option" and "Enter" on your keyboard.

Related: How To Create Bullets and Numbering in Excel on Windows

Formula bar method

These steps can help you input a line break within the formula bar in the command ribbon:

  1. Select the cell you want to input a line break.

  2. Review the formula bar to identify where you want the break to occur.

  3. Click on the space you want to input the line break.

  4. Press "Alt" with "Enter" on your keyboard.

  5. For different operating systems, you can press "Control," "Option" and "Enter" on your keyboard.

Related: How To Include Excel Skills on Your Resume

"Wrap Text" method

Using this method can help you automatically input line breaks in designated cells. Examine these steps to help you understand more about using this tool:

  1. Select the cell you want to enable "Wrap Text."

  2. Verify your command ribbon is on the "Home" tab.

  3. Click the "Wrap Text" button in the command ribbon.

  4. Adjust column width to your desired size.

  5. Double-click on the row with your "Wrap Text" cell to automatically adjust row height.

Function method

Using the CHAR function can also enable you to input line breaks in your spreadsheet. Review these steps to help you understand how to use this function:

  1. Select the active cell you want your results.

  2. Ensure the cell has "Wrap Text" enabled.

  3. Start your formula with the "=" sign.

  4. Select the cell reference of your text, or type your text in quotations.

  5. Add an "&" sign after your text.

  6. Type in "CHAR(10)" followed by another "&" sign if you're using a computer with a Windows operating system.

  7. If you're using a computer with a different operating system, input the number 13 instead of the number 10.

  8. Select the cell reference of your text, or type your text in quotations.

  9. Press "Enter" to generate your text with cell references.

  10. You can use this function with other functions in Excel, such as CONCATENATE, TEXTJOIN or CONCAT.

Example: Andrea wants to have the text "Delivery Date" in her spreadsheet and wants each word on a different line. She decides to use the CONCATENATE function to have each word separated with a line break. She selects the cell she wants the results in and types "="Delivery"&CHAR(10)&"Date"" in the cell after verifying the cell has "Wrap Text" enabled. Once she presses "Enter," the cell reflects her desired look for the spreadsheet.

Related: Basic Excel Formulas and How To Use Them

Tips for using "Enter" in Excel

Consider these tips when using the "Enter" key or inputting a line break in your spreadsheet:

  • Preview your spreadsheet. Reviewing a printer preview version of your spreadsheet can help you identify any formatting changes that might improve the look and readability of your document. This can also help you identify any cells that can benefit from a line break.

  • Adjust your layout. Adjusting the layout of your spreadsheet can help improve the visual appeal of your spreadsheet. Switching from portrait to landscape can also help you keep your text together or can help you identify areas that might benefit from using the "Enter" key.

  • Expand the formula bar. Expanding the formula bar can help you visualize the information in a cell that has line breaks. This can help you quickly review or adjust information as needed.

  • Adjust row height. Adjusting the row height of your spreadsheet can help you visualize all the information in your spreadsheet without using the formula bar. Double-clicking on the row you want to adjust can help you automatically adjust the height to view all text within a cell.

  • Ask for additional input. Many professionals use line breaks to enhance the visual appeal of a spreadsheet. Consulting other individuals about the look of your document can help you identify additional areas that might benefit from line breaks.

  • Add page breaks. Adding page breaks can also improve the readability of your document, especially in printed format. To add a page break, you can navigate to the "Page Layout" tab in the command ribbon, click on "Breaks" and add or remove a page break.

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