How to Create Vertical Headings in Excel

By Kathryn Hatashita-Lee

Adjust a heading with Excel's orientation options.
i Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Microsoft Excel features alignment options so you can adjust the headings in your worksheet to save space or make them stand out. For example, if a column heading is very wide, change the horizontal text to vertical text to take up less space on your screen or printout. Excel stacks the characters like blocks on top of each other. Excel also offers the option to rotate the entire string of text 90 degrees clockwise or counterclockwise to change the orientation of the characters entirely.

Stacked Text

Highlight the headings and click the “Home” tab on the command ribbon.

Click the drop-down button with a slanted "ab" and arrow in the Alignment group.

Click “Vertical Text” in the drop-down list to convert from horizontal to stacked vertical orientation.

Angled Text

Highlight the headings. Right-click, click “Format Cells,” and click the “Alignment” tab in the Format Cells dialog box.

Type “-90” for a clockwise rotation or “90” for a counterclockwise rotation in the Degrees box in the Orientation section. The preview box shows a rotated text sample.

Click the “OK” button to rotate the headings in your worksheet.


To adjust the size of the column or row with your mouse, click the cell boundary between the column or row headers and drag to the preferred width or height. For example, click between column headers A and B to change the cursor to a vertical line with left and right arrows and then drag to adjust the dimensions. All the data should be visible.

Experiment with different text angles, such as 45 degrees, for looks that stand out or are easier to read.

To clear the vertical format, click the “Home” tab, the “Clear” button in the Editing group, and then click “Clear Formats” to revert to the horizontal alignment.