ALT+ENTER in Excel – What Does it Do?

The shortcut key ALT + Enter allows you to insert a line break in a cell in Excel.

A line break is used to end the current line at a certain position and start a new line in the same cell.

You can use ALT + ENTER to divide a block of text within a cell into paragraphs.

A real-life example of using Alt-Enter in Excel is when you have the full address in a cell, and you want to have the house number, street name, city, state, and zip code in different lines in the same cell (something as shown below). 

address with different lines in the same cell

In this guide, we will explain what ALT + ENTER does and how to use it to add space between paragraphs in a cell. This will make your text easier to read.

Using ALT + ENTER Shortcut in Excel?

So let’s get started with a simple example.

Below, we have cell  A1, which contains a block of text. There is a name and an entire address on one line.

This text would be much easier to read if we had line breaks that would add spacing where needed.

address as single line in the same cell
  • Double-click cell A1 to enter Edit Mode (or select the cell and then press the F2 key).
double click on the set to get into the edit mode
  • Click on the location within cell A1 where you want to insert the line break. In our case, the location where we would like to insert the line break is just before the number 1.
place the cursor where you want the line break
  • Press ALT + ENTER on your keyboard to insert a line break (hold the ALT key and then press the Enter key). You should see that a line break has been inserted at the specified position.
Use ALT + ENTER

And there you have it. It’s really that simple.

Note: The cell needs to be in ‘Wrap Text’ mode in order to see the text appear on the new lines. If the ‘Wrap Text’ mode is not applied, the text will appear to be on one line in the cell (even after you use ALT Enter to add a line break). To apply Wrap text formatting, select the cell, click the Home tab, and click the Wrap text option in the Alignment group.

Also read: How to Concatenate with Line Breaks in Excel?

Adding Additional Line Breaks Using ALT Enter

Now let’s add three additional line breaks. We want to add line breaks just before the city, state, and zip code so that all three are on their own line.

  • To do this, double-click cell A1 again to enter Edit mode (or you can select the cell and then press the F2 key).
  •  Place the cursor just before the text Indianapolis in the cell(which is where you want to add a line break).
place the cursor where you want another line break
  • Press ALT + ENTER on your keyboard to insert a line break. Then press Enter, and you should see that a line break has been inserted at the specified position.
Use ALt Enter and then press the enter key
  • Follow the same steps, to add a line break just before the state and the zip code to see the following.
different elements of the address in separate lines in the same cell

Note: In the example shown in this article, I first got into the edit mode in a cell and then added the line break using ALT + ENTER. You can also select the cell and then use the shortcut in the Formula Bar in Excel (which is right below the ribbon)

In this article, I demonstrated how to use the ALT+ENTER shortcut key to add line breaks to text in a certain cell.

This allows you to divide the text into easy-to-read paragraphs.

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