How to Indent Text in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide


Michael Collins

Indenting text in Google Sheets is a handy way to organize your data and make your spreadsheets look cleaner. It’s a simple task that can be accomplished in just a few clicks. Once you know how to do it, you’ll be able to quickly indent text in any cell or range of cells in your spreadsheet.

Step by Step Tutorial: Indenting Text in Google Sheets

Before we dive into the steps, keep in mind that indenting text in Google Sheets is all about adjusting the cell’s format to make the text start further from the cell’s left border. This makes your data easier to read, especially when you’re dealing with nested lists or hierarchies. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Select the Cell or Range of Cells

Click on the cell or drag your mouse to select a range of cells where you want to indent text.

When you select a cell, it’s highlighted with a blue border, and if you’re selecting a range, all the cells in that range get highlighted. This visual cue ensures you’re working with the correct data.

Step 2: Open the Format Menu

Click on the "Format" menu at the top of the Google Sheets interface.

The "Format" menu is where you can find all the tools you need to change the appearance of your text and cells. It’s your go-to place for making your spreadsheet look great.

Step 3: Choose "Text Indent"

Hover over the "Text wrapping" option, and then click on "Increase indent" or "Decrease indent."

"Text wrapping" is a bit of a misnomer here since we’re not actually wrapping text, but it’s the menu where the indent options live. "Increase indent" moves the text to the right, while "Decrease indent" moves it back to the left.

Step 4: Adjust the Indentation

Click "Increase indent" to move the text to the right or "Decrease indent" to move it to the left. Repeat the click until you achieve the desired level of indentation.

Each click moves the text a set distance to the right or left. You can click multiple times to indent the text as much as you want.

After completing these steps, your text will be neatly indented, giving your spreadsheet a more organized appearance. It’s a small change that can make a big difference in how easy your data is to read and understand.

Tips for Indenting Text in Google Sheets

  • If you want to indent text in multiple cells at once, hold down the "Shift" key while you click to select the cells.
  • You can use keyboard shortcuts to indent text faster: "Alt" + "Shift" + "Right arrow" to increase indent, and "Alt" + "Shift" + "Left arrow" to decrease indent.
  • Indenting text is different from adding spaces before your text. Indentation moves the text uniformly and maintains its position when the cell size changes.
  • You can also indent text using custom cell padding. Go to "Format" > "Cells" > "Custom padding," and adjust the left padding to indent the text.
  • Remember that extensive indenting can make your text run out of the visible cell area. Use text wrapping or adjust the column width to ensure your text remains visible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I indent text in Google Sheets on mobile?

Yes, you can indent text in the Google Sheets mobile app by selecting the cell and then tapping the "Format" (paint roller) icon. From there, you’ll find the indent options under "Cell."

Is there a limit to how much I can indent text in Google Sheets?

There’s no specific limit, but practical considerations like cell width and text visibility will determine how much you can indent text before it becomes unreadable or hidden.

Can I save an indent level as a default for future cells?

Google Sheets doesn’t allow you to set a default indent level, but you can copy the formatting from an indented cell to new cells using the "Format Painter" tool.

Does indenting text in Google Sheets affect formulas or sorting?

Indenting text is purely visual and will not affect the functionality of formulas or the sorting of data in your spreadsheet.

Can I use indents to create sublists within a cell?

Absolutely! Indenting text is a great way to visually create sublists or hierarchies within a single cell or across multiple cells in your spreadsheet.


  1. Select the cell or range of cells.
  2. Open the "Format" menu.
  3. Choose "Text Indent" under "Text wrapping."
  4. Adjust the indentation by clicking "Increase indent" or "Decrease indent."


Indenting text in Google Sheets is a breeze once you know where to look. It’s all about making your data pop and ensuring that your spreadsheets are not just functional but also aesthetically pleasing. Whether you’re organizing data into hierarchies, creating sublists, or simply trying to make your spreadsheet easier to navigate, indenting is a tool that can help you achieve a cleaner, more organized look.

Remember, the key to mastering Google Sheets is to experiment and find what works best for your specific needs. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch as your spreadsheets transform from a jumble of data into a neatly organized masterpiece. Happy indenting!