How to Overflow Text in Google Sheets

How to Overflow Text in Google Sheets
How to Overflow Text in Google Sheets – Sheetaki

In this article, you will learn how to unwrap a text in Google Sheets using the Overflow wrapping option.

Some users prefer to have the text elements in their Google Sheets overflowing rather than wrapped or clipped. It’s not a problem for newly-created spreadsheets as text wrapping is set to Overflow by default. So, you can just type in your data, and it will overflow instantly.

But for spreadsheets that come from other sources or those that other authors have shared, the text elements may have been configured to have a wrapping option other than Overflow.

Here’s how a spreadsheet with wrapped text looks like:

A spreadsheet with wrapped text

In contrast, here’s how a spreadsheet will look like if text wrapping is set to overflow:

A spreadsheet with overflowing text

You see the difference? If you would like to format your cells similar to the second image, we have the answers for you in the next sections.



What is Text Overflow in Google Sheets?

Overflow is the default wrapping format in Google Sheets. When a cell is set to overflow, its content will spill over the adjacent cell if the entire content exceeds its width. This behavior favors some users but irritates others. That’s why they choose to wrap text instead.


If you’re one of those who prefer text to overflow, you’re in luck because we have the solutions for you.



How to Overflow Text in Google Sheets

It’s easy to format your text as overflowing in Google Sheets. Whether you want to unwrap only the content of a cell or an entire column, Google Sheets offers you the feature that you can always access to format your selection. Either way, we’ll show you how to do it.

To easily follow along with our activities, go ahead and click the link below to make a copy of our example data.

Now, buckle up, and let’s get right to our simple activities.

How to Overflow Text in a Cell

  1. With the spreadsheet already open, notice that there is a list of some of the famous quotes in the first column. Initially, their wrapping format is set to Wrap.
    A spreadsheet that contains wrapped texts
    Our goal for this activity is to set the first quote only to have an Overflow wrapping.
  2. Click on the cell where the first quote is contained within, that is cell A2.
    Selecting cell A2
  3. Now, click on the Format menu to display the list of formatting options we can apply to the selected cell.
    Overflow text in Google Sheets
  4. This time, move your mouse pointer over Wrapping, and you will see the list of commands under it.
    Overflow text in Google Sheets
  5. From the list, click Overflow. You’ll notice that the selected text will now overflow to the adjacent cells.
    Overflow text in Google Sheets

You see how easy that is? With only a few clicks, you can already format a cell to overflow its content to the cells beside it.

What if you want to format an entire column instead? Move on to the next activity to find out.


How to Overflow Text in an Entire Column

For this activity, we will use the same command, Overflow, to unwrap the text contents of an entire column. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Using the same spreadsheet we have earlier, select the column which contains the famous quotes. There are two ways to do it. You can either highlight the cell range which contains the data, that is A1:A6, or you can just click on column A. We’ll use the latter option since it’s easier.
    Overflow text in Google Sheets
  2. Then, execute the Overflow formatting as we did earlier. You can find this under the Wrapping option on the Format menu. Be guided by the image below.
    Overflow text in Google Sheets
  3. Upon clicking, you’ll see that all the texts in the first column now overflow to the succeeding cells.
    Overflow text in Google Sheets

Great work! Now you know how to overflow text in Google Sheets.

Just so you’re aware, the Format menu is not the only way to overflow text in Google Sheets. We’ll show you a shortcut to save you a few clicks.



A Simple Shortcut to Overflow Text in Google Sheets

The Overflow wrapping option is also available on the toolbar of Google Sheets. Instead of going through Format > Wrapping > Overflow, you might want to try out the Text Wrapping control, which is shown in the image below.

Overflow text in Google Sheets

Aside from Overflow, you’ll find the other text wrapping options in this shortcut. So, you can instantly switch to the type of text wrapping you want.



Overflow Text in Google Sheets is Not Working

In some cases, the Overflow option seems to be not working. This may be due to any of the following reasons:


Cells or Columns are too wide

Obviously, when the cell that holds the text is wide enough to contain the entire content, it is expected that the text will not overflow to the adjacent cells. If you want to make sure that you have applied the Overflow wrapping, try adjusting the column that contains the text until it is narrower than the width of the text.


Data is present on the adjacent cell

If you try to overflow a text within a cell and the cell next to it also has data, the text will be clipped instead. It’s because, by default, Google Sheets will still make it to a point that the viewers of a spreadsheet will see the data beside the cell that has been set to Overflow. The only way that you can overflow the text is to delete the content beside your target cell.


That’s about it when it comes to overflowing text in Google Sheets. We hope that we are able to help you with your problem on how to unwrap the text elements in a specific cell or an entire column. If you want to learn more about formatting your spreadsheets, make sure to check out our other articles about Google Sheets.

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