How to Expand Cells in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Excel is a powerful tool that can help you organize and manipulate data in numerous ways. One of the most fundamental operations in Excel is expanding or resizing cells. Depending on the complexity of your worksheet, you may need to expand cells for entering new data, formatting cells, or making calculations. In this article, I’ll show you how to expand cells in Excel, step by step.

Why expand cells?

Excel worksheets consist of columns and rows, which form cells. By default, cells are rectangular and have a fixed size. However, depending on the type of data you’re working with, you may need to resize cells to accommodate more content or present data more clearly. For example, if you’re entering long strings of text, you’ll need wider cells. If you’re dealing with large numbers, you’ll need taller cells. Expanding cells can also help you format data more effectively, such as wrapping text within cells, merging cells, or applying borders and shading.

Step-by-step guide

Here’s how to expand cells in Excel, step by step:

Step 1: Select the cells you want to expand

Before you can resize cells, you need to select them. You can select a single cell, a range of cells, or the entire worksheet. To select cells, click and drag your mouse over the cells you want to select, or use the keyboard arrow keys to move the cursor to the first cell in the range, hold down the Shift key, and select the last cell in the range.

Step 2: Click on the edge of the selected cells

Once you’ve selected the cells you want to resize, move your mouse pointer over the edge of the selection box until it changes to a double-sided arrow. Click and hold down the left mouse button.

Step 3: Drag the edge of the selection box

While holding down the left mouse button, drag the edge of the selection box to expand or shrink the cells. You can drag any edge or corner of the selection box to resize the cells in that direction. To maintain the aspect ratio of the cells, hold down the Shift key while dragging.

Step 4: Release the mouse button

When you’re satisfied with the size of the cells, release the left mouse button. The cells will be resized accordingly. If you’ve resized multiple cells, they will all be expanded or shrunk proportionally.

Step 5: Adjust the cell formatting

After resizing the cells, you may need to adjust the formatting to accommodate the new size. For example, you may need to change the font size, alignment, or text wrapping to fit the content within the cells. To do this, select the resized cells, right-click, and select Format Cells. The Format Cells dialog box will appear, where you can make the necessary adjustments.


Expanding cells in Excel is a simple, yet essential task that can help you work more efficiently and effectively. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily resize cells, format data, and present your information in a clear and organized way. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced Excel user, mastering the art of expanding cells is a crucial skill that will serve you well in all your Excel endeavors.

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