How to Rotate Text in Excel: Change Text Direction (2024)

We always look for ways for our data to be substantial and comprehensive as possible. We also want them to be organized and ✨ visually pleasing ✨ for our sake and others.

Microsoft Excel provides us so many ways to improve the format and layout of our content. One of the many ways to do that is to rotate text in your cells 😊

With the rotate text feature in Excel, provide clarity or highlight important content in your spreadsheet. It can also help save up space and add a touch of style to your work.

Let’s get started with this tutorial and learn exactly how to rotate text in Excel 💪

To start, download this free practice workbook we’ve prepared for you to work on.

Rotate text from the ‘Home’ tab of the ribbon

You can rotate the text in cells either up, down, clockwise, or counterclockwise, or align text vertically. You can even rotate your text to a precise angle depending on your preference.

What matters is that you can use it to improve the overall appearance of your work 😉

Open your practice workbook and you’ll see a sample data table of a Sales Report.

default state horizontal text orientation

You can observe that the column headers are in a horizontal text orientation and look bigger than the content. As a result, the rest of the report is not visible unless you scroll 😕

So to overcome this, you can rotate the text in the column headers. This will make you save up space to make other texts visible 👀 and give your spreadsheet a more unified look.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

One way to rotate texts in cells in Excel is by clicking the Orientation button in the Home Tab. Here’s how 👇

  1. Select the cells you want to rotate. In our example, the column headers.
  2. Click the Home Tab.
how to rotate text in Excel
  1. In the Alignment group, click the Orientation button.
orientation option

When you click the Orientation button, you’ll see the following options:

  • Angle Counterclockwise
  • Angle Clockwise
  • Vertical Text
  • Rotate Text Up
  • Rotate Text Down

These options only rotate text to a preset number of degrees.

other options

Let’s try one and see how it looks.

  1. Select the Angle counterclockwise orientation option.

This option would rotate the text in the selected cells by 45 degrees.

angle counterclockwise

Make the content look better by adjusting the rows and columns, and center-align your text.

This is now what your column headers look like. The report is now more compact and put together 😊

rotated text

Or try another orientation option like the Rotate Text Up.

less space

Try other options too like the angle clockwise, vertical text, or rotate-down.

If you want to align the text to a particular angle and add additional customizations, you can orient them using the Format Cells option 😀

More settings: Choose a specific text direction

The Format Cells option is another way to rotate text in your cells. You can access more settings to customize the text orientation as you want.

There are three (3) ways to access the Format cells option to rotate text in Excel.

  1. Right-clicking the selected cells and choosing Format Cells from the menu
  2. Clicking Format Cell Alignment from the Orientation option drop-down
  3. Clicking the Alignment Settings dialog box launcher

Any of the three will launch the Format cells dialog box 👍

Let’s use the Format cell alignment from the Orientation for this tutorial.

  1. Select the cells you want to rotate.
  2. Go to the Home Tab.
change alignment
  1. In the Alignment group, click the Orientation icon.
  2. Click the Format Cell Alignment option at the bottom.
alignment settings

The Format cells dialog box will pop up on your screen.

In the dialog box, under the Alignment tab, you can see a dial-shaped feature in the orientation to the right.

format cells

You’ll see the current orientation of the text in the selected cells.

  1. To rotate the text to a precise angle, you can either enter an exact number of degrees you want to rotate the text to or drag the dial to set the degree of rotation of the text.

As you drag the dial, the angle automatically adjusts. This way you can know and set the degree of rotation for the text 😊

Let’s set the orientation to 70 degrees.

format cells - alignment section
  1. Finally, click OK.
close alignment section of format cells

The text is now rotated to a specific number of degrees.

rotated text

When you compare the before and after look of the data table, it shows a great difference 🤩

horizontal text to text rotated

Keyboard shortcut to rotate text

If rotating text is something that you need to do often, then knowing the shortcut to do this could save you some time ⏰

The keyboard shortcut to rotate text is Alt + H + F + Q + O (press keys one after another).

  1. Select the text you want to rotate.
  2. Press Alt + H. This opens the Home Tab and highlights the keyboard shortcut keys to every button and option in the Home Tab.
  3. The shortcut key for the Orientation button is FQ. Press F and then Q.

Here, you’ll see the orientation dropdown showing up with the shortcut keys for each type of rotation 👀

V vertical text

If you want to rotate the text in a specific orientation…

  1. Press the keys appropriate for it.

It may be a long keyboard shortcut but it is the fastest way ⚡ to rotate the text in your cells, especially when you are more comfortable doing work in Excel with your keyboard than your mouse 😊

That’s it – Now what?

Way to go! 👏 Now you’ve learned how to rotate text in Excel to help you improve the overall look of your data tables and report. It may be a simple move but it can help you save up space, highlight important content, and give your spreadsheets a little touch of style 😊

It’s amazing how Microsoft Excel enables you to do all of these things! But we’re only talking about the basic things Excel can do for you 🤯

Learn more about how you can effectively clean your data in Excel so you can focus on data that matters! Aside from that, you’ll learn advanced functions you wish you knew sooner when working in Excel when you sign up for my free course.

Sign up for my free Excel Intermediate training ✍ and turbocharge your Excel skills 🚀

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