Close this search box.

In Cell Text Formats – 2 Quick Tips



Did you know you can apply any text effect to a single character or group of text characters within a cell ?


Select the cell

Enter Edit Mode by pressing F2

Move to the characters you want to edit,

Hint 1: Use Ctrl and the Left/Right Arrows to jump words left and right

Hint 2: Use Ctrl Home/End to Jump to the Start /End of the cells text

Select the text with Shift and Left/Right Arrows

Hint 3: Use Ctrl Shift and the Left/Right Arrows to Jump over and select words left and right

Apply the format, see below for a list of available formats

You can then move to other characters and edit them as appropriate.

Here is a quick demo:



Did you know you can apply any text effect to text as you enter it?


As you are typing some text try the following

Enter some text, as you are typing apply Bold (Ctrl B), Italic (Ctrl I), Underline (Ctrl U) to toggle the effects on,

Hint 4: Use the keyboard shortcuts,  Bold (Ctrl B), Italic (Ctrl I), Underline (Ctrl U) again to toggle the effect on/off as required

You can also apply color /font by using the appropriate menu drop down or Ctrl 1, Format Cells

Once again apply a format continue to type the text, apply/change formats as you go

Here is another quick demo:



What Formats are available

There are many Text formats that are available:

Bold – Ctrl B

Underline – Ctrl U

Double Underline – Ctrl 1 menu

Italic – Ctrl I

Font Color – Color Picker or Ctrl 1 menu

Font Size – Font Size Picker or Ctrl 1 menu

Super Script – Ctrl 1 menu

Sub Script – Ctrl 1 menu

Strikethrough – Ctrl 1 menu

Alt Enter – Add a second Line of text



There are many times where the use of in-cell text formatting is required

  • Highlighting Individual Characters or Words
  • Adding Footnote and other references
  • Writing Chemical Formulas
  • Writing Mathematical Formulas



There are a few limitations to what and when in-cell formatting can be applied

  • The limitations of these techniques is that it cannot be applied to characters of a cell where the cell is a formula
  • The formats can’t be applied selectively by Conditional Formatting
  • The Cells background color applies to the whole cell and cannot be changed for part of the cell or on a character by Character basis
  • The Copy Cell Format tool does not copy in-cell text formats 🙁



When have you used in-cell text formats to great effect ?

Let us know in the comments below.


Share this tip with your colleagues

Excel and Power BI tips - Chandoo.org Newsletter

Get FREE Excel + Power BI Tips

Simple, fun and useful emails, once per week.

Learn & be awesome.

Welcome to Chandoo.org

Thank you so much for visiting. My aim is to make you awesome in Excel & Power BI. I do this by sharing videos, tips, examples and downloads on this website. There are more than 1,000 pages with all things Excel, Power BI, Dashboards & VBA here. Go ahead and spend few minutes to be AWESOME.

Read my storyFREE Excel tips book

Excel School made me great at work.

– Brenda

Excel formula list - 100+ examples and howto guide for you

From simple to complex, there is a formula for every occasion. Check out the list now.

Calendars, invoices, trackers and much more. All free, fun and fantastic.

Advanced Pivot Table tricks

Power Query, Data model, DAX, Filters, Slicers, Conditional formats and beautiful charts. It's all here.

Still on fence about Power BI? In this getting started guide, learn what is Power BI, how to get it and how to create your first report from scratch.

Announcing Power BI Dashboard Contest 2024

Announcing Power BI Dashboard Contest (win $500 prizes!)

Hey there, I have a SUPER exciting announcement! April is about to get a whole lot sweeter with our Power BI Dashboard Contest! Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Craft the most EPIC dashboard for the Awesome Chocolates CEO with sales & financial insights! Winners stand a chance to score up to $500 in Amazon Gift Cards, plus some serious bragging rights!

11 Responses to “In Cell Text Formats – 2 Quick Tips”

  1. Art says:

    Great tip (as usual).

    Taking this one step further, I've been trying to embed a bulleted list with hanging indents within a single cell, but have had no luck. Any suggestions on how to achieve it? Or is it really impossible?

  2. Cherrill Mears says:

    Thanks for the tip about F2, Shift, Ctrl, and the arrow keys. I didn't know to use them in the manner you described. However, I've been doing the same thing by selecting the cell, then selecting the text from the formula bar and editing it there.

  3. PremSivakanthan says:

    The Alt Enter comes in very handy. Often what I'll do is type a title in a big font (say pt 11) then alt enter, then write a small explanatory note under the title in a smaller font. It looks the money. Of course you can also use CHAR(10) as well.

  4. Keith Burns says:

    I have more of a question on this topic. I have a spreadsheet that is more of a record keeping tool. ie it has some numbers in it but I also have a "comments" column. I use a Word template that has some parts (ie the questions/sections) in BOLD but the comments I fill in in Plain text. When I fill in my template, copy, hit F2 (or double-click) in Excel and paste, I lose all the formatting. I've tried the option of "Keep source formatting" and while it does indeed keep the BOLD/Plain formatting, it puts the different questions/answers in different cells rather than in the one cell.

    Any ideas?

  5. Gregor Erbach says:

    Too bad that it is not possible to hyperlink only part of the text in a cell. Oh well, still better than Google Spreadsheets where you have to choose between text or hyperlink.

  6. Santhan says:

    "The limitations of these techniques is that it cannot be applied to characters of a cell where the cell is a formula" ------

    Is there any way where I can format some content in a formula ?

    For example,
    Cell A1 holds this formula: = IF(B10,"Going Upwards","Going Downwards")

    And now i want to colour Only '"Upwards" in green and only "downwards" in red. Any way of achieving this ?

  7. Sean L. says:

    Art - You could change fonts within the cell to Wingdings, then copy a good bullet character over using the Character Map. (I'd suggest you set up a cell template, though, because it's pretty labor intensive.)

  8. Okili says:

    You can use conditional formatting for your task

  9. Okili says:

    Oops, sorry I misunderstood.
    But anyway, your task can be solved by splitting "Going " in one cell and "Upwards" in another cell, and applying conditional formatting to the second cell. I don't think it will be possible to do the same only in one cell, without using VBA.

  10. Santhan says:

    Thank you Okili.

  11. Praveen says:

    Thanks, this was very helpfull. 🙂

Leave a Reply