Let’s take a look. There are two basic paths to horizontal alignment in Excel. The first is the Alignment group on the home tab of the ribbon, which gives you access to left, right, and center alignment. The second path is the Alignment tab on the Format Cells dialog box. The Format Cells dialog is more complete and gives you access to all the cell alignment options in Excel. As we’ve seen previously, Excel will, by default, align text to the left and numbers and dates to the right. In the Format Cells dialog box, this default alignment is referred to as “General” alignment. However, you can override Excel’s default alignment as you like. For basic right, left, and center alignment, it’s easiest to use the buttons on the ribbon. We can, for example, align column B to the right, and center-align the numbers in columns C through G. Or, we could right-align all of these columns. To reset alignment to defaults, visit the Alignment tab in Format Cells and choose “General” from the Horizontal alignment menu. Be aware that if you select multiple cells that are formatted with different alignment options—for example, cells that are both right and left-aligned; the Horizontal alignment menu in the the Format Cells dialog will be blank. This is Excel’s way of telling you that the current selection has more than one alignment setting applied. As usual, the ribbon will highlight the setting for the active cell, which can vary depending on how you made the selection.

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.