Let’s take a look. Here we have a table with several rows of sample text. The top three rows contain a single line of text. The bottom three rows contain larger amounts of text. The options available for vertical alignment in Excel are listed across the top of the table. Let’s format the text in each column to match the headings. For columns C, D, and E, it’s easiest to set vertical alignment using the three buttons in the Alignment group on the home tab of the ribbon. For column C, we click the Top Align button. For column D, we use the Middle Align button. For column E, vertical alignment is already set to Bottom Align. So there’s no need to change the setting. Note that nothing in our table has changed. That’s because vertical alignment doesn’t actually do anything unless the row height is increased. Let’s make the first three rows taller. Now we can see vertical alignment in action. For the bottom three rows, we can enable text wrapping and Excel will adjust each row as needed to fit the text. However, let’s undo that change for the moment and go on to columns F and G. To set a vertical alignment of Justify or Distributed, we need to access the Format Cells dialog box. Vertical alignment settings are on the Alignment tab, just below the Horizontal alignment menu. As we can see, both Justify and Distributed automatically wrap text. Now let’s re-enable text wrapping for the first three columns, so we can compare all vertical alignment options. When we change the row height, Justify and Distributed will increase space between the lines to fit the row. With a single line of text, Justify behaves like Top alignment, and Distribute behaves like Middle alignment.

Dave Bruns

Hi - I’m Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.