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2 Easy Ways To Change Google Sheets Cell Padding

Fact Checked By Cindy Wong

I often alter Google Sheets cell padding to make my spreadsheets easier to scan. This allows me to extract the necessary information from a single location and view my data more efficiently.

You can do this in two different ways:

  • Altering the row or column height
  • Using the cell formatting menu

In this guide, I have covered the most common questions found in Q&A communities, offering step-by-step instructions in accordance with both methods above. Read on to learn more.

What Is Google Sheets Cell Padding?

Padding is a term used in CSS web design and refers to the space between an element and the border around it. Padding in spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets is the blank area around the text in a cell, also known as cell spacings.

From my personal experience, Excel allows me to change the padding of the cells (and track those changes) to make my spreadsheets more readable, but there is no straightforward option to change the cell padding when using Google Sheets. However, there are several workarounds to change Google Sheet cell padding, which yields similar results.

In this article, I will offer some clarification on how to add horizontal spacing of the cells in Google Sheets.

Related: How to Format Cells in Google Sheets

Ways To Change Cell Padding Google Sheets

Let me show you some methods to add a cell padding effect to Google Sheets.

If you want to watch more helpful tutorials to maximize your Google Sheets knowledge, don’t forget to check out our Spreadsheet Point YouTube channel!

How To Change Cell Padding in Google Sheets by Altering Row and Column Width

The first method I will show you is altering rows and column widths in Google Sheets to change the cell padding. Follow the steps below to change the padding of your cells using the alignment function in Google Sheets:

  1. Open the spreadsheet where you wish to add space in Google Sheets
    Google Sheets cell padding—alignment button
  1. With the cells selected, click the “Vertical alignment” option in the main toolbar ribbon, as shown in the screenshot above.
    • Here, I’ll choose the type of alignment I want. For this example, I chose the “Middle” alignment.
    • You can also select a center horizontal alignment. (While this step is optional, it will make your cells look neater.)
Middle alignment option in Google Sheets
  1. Next, I’ll click the “Text wrap” option in the toolbar.
    • There, I can choose either the “Overflow” or “Clip” option, according to my needs and preferences.
    • Note: You cannot wrap text using this method.
How to resize rows in Google Sheets
  1. Finally, I can change the vertical height of the cells.
    • To do this, I click and drag my cursor across the row bar to select them.
    • I can select individual rows by clicking the Ctrl key and pressing the row numbers.
How to specify the row height of columns in Google Sheets
  1. With the rows selected, right-click on any of the selected rows and click on the “Resize row” option. Here, I can specify the row height and enter the value.
  2. I’ll click the green “OK” button to change the row height.

NOTE: You can also change the column width to add padding by doing the same thing but selecting column headers instead of row headers for step 4.

Related: How to Print Selected Cells in Google Sheets

How To Add Space in Google Sheets Cell Using Cell Formatting

Another option is to pad the cells from the right and left sides. Follow the steps below to learn how to use Google Sheets to add padding to cells:

  1. I will select all the cells in my spreadsheet using the Ctrl + A keyboard shortcut.
Google Sheets format option—custom number format
  1. With the cells selected, I will click on the “Format” > “Number” > “Custom number format.”
Custom number formats box
  1. I will type in “Space” characters for Google Sheets to increase cell padding in the textbox, followed by an at (@) symbol.
  2. However, this will only change the left padding of the cell in Google Sheets.
    • To add the right padding of the cell, I must add the same number of spaces as the left to ensure the padding is balanced on both sides.
  1. Finally, I’ll press the green “Apply” button to save the changes.

Related: How to Keep Leading Zeros in Google Sheets

How To Remove Cell Padding in Google Sheets

There is no direct option to discard or remove the padding in Google Sheets. However, there are two workarounds if you need to remove the cell padding in Google Sheets. Let’s take a look at these below.

Format option—automatic function

The first method works better if you have other types of formatting in the sheet. All you have to do for this workaround is retrace your steps and undo the changes. For example, for custom number formats, click on “Format” > “Number” > “Automatic.” This will remove the custom cell format that you previously added.

Another option is to copy your data without the additional formatting and paste it directly into a new spreadsheet. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Press Ctrl + A on Windows or Cmd + A on a Mac. The keyboard shortcut will then select the entire spreadsheet.
How to add a new sheet in Google Sheets
  1. Now, click the Plus (+) icon toward the bottom left-hand side of the sheet to “Add Sheet.”
  2. Once the sheet is added, click on cell A1 and use the Ctrl + Shift + V keyboard shortcut to add the values.

Related: How To Indent in Google Sheets: 3 Easy Ways

Wrapping Up

To summarize, you can easily change your Google Sheets cell padding through the format menu or by altering the row height and vertical alignment. Once you learn how to do this, you’ll find that your Google Sheets are more organized, improving your productivity on a desktop or mobile device.

If you’re looking for Google Sheets templates, check out some of mine at the SpreadSheet Point store. Don’t forget to use the promo code “SSP” to get 50% off all templates!

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