What do I do when I have more text in an Excel cell than I want to show in the allocated space?

Something making it "scrollable" would be preferred.

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You should create an Active-X text box in the cell and edit some of it's settings to enable the scrolling/wrapping/multi-line features. I got this answer from this MrExcel.com forum post:

My first thought would be to place a texbox in the cell, set MultiLine=True, WordWrap=True, EnterKeyBehavior=True, ScrollBars=fmScrollBarsVertical. Size the textbox to the same dimensions as the cell.

  1. Turn on Developer Options: Click the Microsoft Office Button at the top left, and click "Excel Options" (next to Exit Excel). Enable "Show Developer Tab in the Ribbon" and click okay. Excel OptionsDev Mode
  2. Click the Developer Tab. Under the Controls section, click Insert, and under the Active-X section, choose the Text Box (it looks like ab|). add text box
  3. On the main worksheet, click-drag the area where you want to place the text box.

  4. Ensure Design Mode is enabled and click Properties. Click properties

  5. Set EnterKeyBehavior, MultiLine, and WordWrap to True. Set ScrollBars to 2 - fmScrollBarsVertical. Set properties
  6. Disable Design Mode, and enter your text. Enter Text

Hope this helps!

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  • In that case, is the value of that text box still used for computation in Excel? – Der Hochstapler May 27 '12 at 13:57
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    No, it is not. You might want to put the same value behind it into the actual cell! You could attach a "changed" event to the text box, changing the cell, but that's more like Stackoverflow territory – sinni800 May 27 '12 at 14:05
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    As far as my testing has shown, no. It's just a text box that sits on top of the worksheet. It can link to one other cell (via the LinkedCell property), so using this, like @sinni800 said, you can put the same value in the cell behind it, and use that in formulas and computation. – rishimaharaj May 27 '12 at 14:07
  • @rishimaharaj Even better, I didn't know that LinkedCell property – sinni800 May 27 '12 at 14:07

Without adding anything to your sheet, the contents of the cell are already scrollable in the formula bar. Just select the cell, and scroll the text in the formula bar.

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An Excel cell doesn't have scroll attributes itself (Without adding an external object container via OLE, ActiveX, etc).

If its a relatively small amount of text, you can use the auto-resize option to get either the row or column to expand to display the full contents of the largest value in that row or column. To use it, slowly mouse over either the row or column headers (the A B C... or 1 2 3...).

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When the cursor is within a few pixels of the caption border, it changes from an arrow pointer to a "resize" line.

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While the cursor is in the state, double-click once to autosize that row (or column). enter image description here

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  • Should I use a TextBox – Olav May 25 '12 at 6:16

adding to jdh's answer:

OR you can use wrap text the cell/column if you want to preserve cell width.

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