You usually use the indent in order to have space between the paragraphs of a typed page using the old-timey typewriter. However, yes, you can also use indents in modern documents for Word and Google Docs as well as spreadsheets like Google Sheets
What would you need to indent on a grid-like Google Sheets spreadsheet? Isn’t space between tables enough? Weren’t old-timey typewriters and their type-written works more about indentation of the first sentence of paragraphs because of their double-spaced nature?
Actually, the indent is functionally and aesthetically pleasing. In fact, we continue to use indents to this day in all sorts of written works! And yes, even Google Sheets makes use of them.
What are Indents for Anyway?
The formatting of your Google Sheets info might be just as important as the info being formatted itself, if not more so.
The paragraphs don’t end up melding or combining together with the assistance of an indent that identifies a separate paragraph, items in bullet points, headers, subheaders, and so forth. To wit:
- At-a-Glance Readability: Indentation doesn’t only breakup paragraphs. It’s also used as formatting to make things like bullet points and separate items more recognizable at a glance.
- Break Apart Crowded Text: Ergo, sometimes you need those indents to break apart paragraphs and text as well as cells and tables in Google Sheets like you would in Google Docs.
- Presentable Presentation: That’s why you should know how to indent in google sheets. Its aesthetics makes your presentation more presentable and readable, in short.
Heck, the bullet points enumerating why you need indents are themselves indented! You can see indents in action in making this article readable. It also applies to tables and spreadsheets, you know!
How to Indent in Google Sheets
Remember, the indent doesn’t only make your sheet visually appealing. It makes it more decipherable, which is half the reason why you inputted your data in the spreadsheet (the other half is instant and dynamic calculation).
Step 1: Open or make a new Google Sheet. An existing sheet allows you to have something to do the indent on, though.
So in my case, I’ve made a small table with simple formatting covering sales made in three years and multiple quarters.
As you can see on the sample table, it’s perfectly readable with the color fills from the Fill tool. Putting the months in italics and the quarters in bold and italics also helps in readability somewhat.
However, the “Months” column seems a bit crowded with the addition of quarterly sums before you can get to the grand total. Perhaps a bit of indentation can do the trick in fixing its readability? We believe so.
Step 2: Select or highlight the cells you wish to indent. By adding indents to every quarterly set of months, you can better delineate and differentiate each month by quarter without looking like one whole huge block.
Step 3: Click the “Format” menu then choose the “Number” submenu. From there, you can select a “Custom number format“.
Step 4: Before anything else, here’s the “Custom number formats” window or box. Here, you can format your selected cells’ text or data to get indented.
It gives you various characters you can enter in order to achieve different formatting options.
However, in your case, you need to enter a blank space or two (I personally settled for two spaces) followed by the “@” symbol or At sign. You know, the symbol used in every email ever to separate your username and email service provider.
Press “Apply” and see the results yourself. Pretty neat, isn’t it?
If you want more “obvious” indentation, just go back to “Custom number format” and add more spaces before the “@” sign and you’re good to go!
File Example: make a copy
What You Need to Know
To indent a set of cells or at least the text inside the cells, go to the “Format” menu, select “Number”, and then select “Custom number format”. From there, on the space provided, press two blank spaces followed by the “@”sign. Each space corresponds to the amount of indents.
Regardless, whether it’s by alignment, document margins, font, or paragraph spacing, using the right format for your spreadsheet can be the difference of unreadable or readable data.
- “How To Indent On Google Sheets“, SheetsforMarketers.com, Retrieved June 27, 2022
- Matthew Burleigh, “How to Indent Text in Google Sheets“, SolveYourTech.com, March 9, 2022
- “How to Indent Text in Google Sheets (Easy Step-by-Step Guide)“, SpreadsheetPoint,com, May 11, 2021