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Trouble with Excel

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Question: I use Excel to post and track updates on an action-item log that I maintain for our weekly meetings. It has seven columns and is laid out in landscape format. Lately, I've run into a problem with the text not wrapping.

It starts out OK, but if the verbiage gets too long, it stops wrapping inside the cell. It sometimes looks OK in the spreadsheet, but cuts off the text on the right-hand side of the cell.

I tried expanding the cell horizontally -- and vertically -- but nothing helps. It was suggested that I post the updated notes in the row directly below, but if I do a filter on all closed action items, the second cell directly below the original doesn't show up.

I'm considering posting my action-item log in another program, i.e. Word, but I'm wondering if I should consider another software program. Excel and Word are the only two software programs I have; anything else would need to be purchased.

I need something that will allow me to add very lengthy verbiage in one cell and still print out, so all can be seen.

Thanks.  -- Susan


There is an option for "merging cells" in Excel, just high light the two seperate cells this allows you to them wrap more text in them.

Hi Susan, I've had that issue before too, and part of it is just Excel's limitations, as it was not designed to hold lengthy text. Under the "Excel specifications and limits" topic in the help files it says "Length of cell contents (text) 32,767 characters. Only 1,024 display in a cell; all 32,767 display in the formula bar." I just added the extra text I needed displayed in the cell next to the first one... but I didn't need the sort/filter capacity. Could you label the 2nd extra row as an "a" or "sub" action item, and also mark it closed so that it would appear in your filter?

Go to Microsoft's website:
( ) and you will see specifications for Excel which includes the following:
Length of cell contents (text) 32,767 characters. Only 1,024 display in a cell; all 32,767 display in the formula bar.

I was going to say about the same. I've had that same problem as well, and I just end up having a few rows for one topic and move all those rows over to the 'closed action items' spreadsheet from the 'open items spreadsheet'. I'll have to check out the first suggestion, from Anne.

I've done this many times. Go to Format/Cell and click on the alignment tab. Set Horizontal to whatever justification you want (left, full, etc), set Vertical to whatever you want (top, bottom, etc.) and click on Wrap Text. You may have to manually adjust the row height, but this will allow you to put many rows of text into that cell. If you want text ONLY in that one cell this will work. If you want to merge that cell with others across the page then you must also click on Merge cells. This will still work. If you have a problem with this, write back.

I would like to add one more comment to Diana's. Once you have set the cell format, highlight all rows of the action log; then, go to "format" on the menu bar, then "row", then "autofit". This will automatically adjust your cell to its contents.

If this is a matter of more text than your cell can hold, the try the other suggestion of merging two cells.

Good luck.

I apologize. I read through your question too fast the first time I answered. You have apparently tried what I suggested. I have had instances of cell contents looking alright onscreen, but not printing. When I added more row height, it printed fine, however, you may just have too much information for the cell. If you can't find a way to manipulate the cells for your purposes, can you manipulate the cell contents? Use abbreviations? Your own form of shorthand? Could you shorten what you write in one cell and expand upon that information in another? (such as "See note A for details", or something like that?) Since you have to sort your data, this may not help. Anyway, have a nice 3-day weekend everyone!

If all else fails, you might want to look into a real database package. I suggest FileMaker Pro. I've used it for about 15 years. It is extremely easy to use and can be a very powerful database tool. You can also upload your Excel info. I think it might help in archiving your closed action items. Look up Filemaker on the internet. I think you can even download a trial version.

Hope this helps.

this sounds really dumb, but did you play with the margins to see if that gives you more room to expand your cells?

Try entering only pertinent information in the cell using the Format, Cells..., Alignment Tab, Wrap Text box checked. Then right click while in the cell and insert a note. You can then print out the worksheet with only the necessary information visible and you can print out the 'notes' at the end of the worksheet and it will provide a reference to the cell it relates to describing your 'notes' information.

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