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Edit and format data in Google spreadsheets

You can add or edit the text in the cells of a spreadsheet and then add formatting to the text in a number of different ways.

Edit text in a cell

You can either add content to an empty cell in your spreadsheet or edit a cell that already has content.

  • Add content to an empty cell: Click the cell and start typing.
  • Edit a cell that already has content: Double-click the cell you want to edit.

Add a line break in a cell

To create a line break within a cell while editing, place your cursor in a cell and press Ctrl+Enter (Cmd+Enter on a Mac). You can use this feature to improve the look of text that requires line breaks, such as addresses.

Format data in a range of cells

You can format data in your spreadsheets in a number of ways using the options in the spreadsheet toolbar.

Frequently used formatting options

Some of the key actions you can apply to a cell or multiple cells include:

  • Changing the number, date or currency format
  • Changing font size
  • Adding bold, italics, or strikethrough
  • Changing color of the text or background color
  • Adding borders and adjusting border colors, and patterns
  • Aligning text

Note: To save time on many of these actions, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Y (Cmd + Y on a Mac) to repeat the last action you took in your spreadsheet. This allows you to repeat information over and over again quickly.

Formatting part of your data in a cell

You can take some action on specific parts of the content in a cell.

  1. Open a spreadsheet.
  2. Doubleclick the cell you want to format a section of and highlight the content you want to change.
  3. Take one of the following actions from the toolbar:
    • Change text size or color
    • Change font
    • Bold
    • Italic
    • Underline
    • Strikethrough

Once you've clicked on a formatting option, your selected text will be automatically changed.

Formatting cells that aren't next to each other

You can take all of the actions mentioned above on cells that aren't next to one another. To select multiple cells, click and hold Ctrl on your keyboard (Cmd on a Mac) as you select the cells.

Along with formatting, the following actions can also be taken with cells that aren't next to each other:

Mary is a Docs & Drive expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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