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How to Indent in Google Sheets: 4 Quick & Easy Steps

Indentation in Google Sheets can significantly enhance the readability and organization of your data. Whether you’re managing lists, creating a nested hierarchy, or simply want to emphasize certain information, indenting is a valuable skill to master. This guide will provide you with various methods to indent in Google Sheets, ensuring your data is presented cleanly and clearly.

Understanding Indentation in Google Sheets

Indentation in Google Sheets isn’t as straightforward as in a word processor, but with a few tricks, you can achieve the desired formatting.

Indenting with Custom Number Formatting

One of the most efficient ways to indent text in Google Sheets is by using custom number formatting:

  1. Select the cells you wish to indent.
  2. Navigate to Format > Number > Custom number format.
  3. In the format box, type the number of spaces you want before your text, followed by an “@” symbol (e.g., ” @”).
  4. Click Apply to see your text indented.

Using Formulas for Dynamic Indentation

For more advanced users, Google Sheets allows the use of formulas to create dynamic indentation. Here are a couple of methods:

Using the REPT Function for Indentation

The REPT function repeats text a given number of times and can be used to create spaces for indentation:

=REPT(" ", 5) & A1

This formula will add five spaces before the text in cell A1, effectively indenting it.

Creating a Hanging Indent with CONCATENATE

If you need a hanging indent, where the first line starts at the beginning of the cell and the following lines are indented, you can use the CONCATENATE function or the & operator:

=A1 & CHAR(10) & REPT(" ", 5) & A2

This formula combines the text from cells A1 and A2, adding a line break (CHAR(10)) and then five spaces before the text in A2, creating a hanging indent effect.

Indenting Based on Cell Values

For a more advanced approach, you can indent text based on other cell values. For example, if you’re creating a hierarchical list and want to indent based on a level number in another column:

=REPT(" ", (B1-1) * 5) & A1

In this formula, if B1 has a value of 1, there will be no indent. If B1 is 2, there will be a 5-space indent before the text in A1, and so on.


Can you indent text in Google Sheets?

Yes, while Google Sheets doesn’t have a dedicated indent button, you can use custom number formatting or formulas to indent your text.

How do I indent the second line in Google Sheets?

To indent the second line, you can use a formula that combines the first line with a calculated number of spaces before the second line, effectively creating a hanging indent.

How do you do a hanging indent on Google Sheets?

A hanging indent can be achieved by using a formula to add spaces before the text of the second line onwards, making the first line stand out.

How do you go to the next line in Google Sheets?

To move to the next line within the same cell, press Ctrl + Enter (or Cmd + Enter on a Mac).


Indenting in Google Sheets requires a bit of creativity, but it’s entirely possible with the right techniques. Whether you’re using custom number formatting, manual spaces, or dynamic formulas, your sheets can be as organized and readable as any other document.

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