Remove Multiple Levels of Indenting

Excel Bad Habit #19: Removing Indentation One Level at a Time Instead of All at Once

Some reports come stacked with several levels of indentation, which can help the user read and understand categories and line items.

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Multiple Levels of indentation

The Problem: Removing Multiple Levels of Indentation

When you want to remove indentation, it doesn't work to highlight all of the levels and click the Decrease Indent button.

No left indent for multiple levels of indentation

So some people get into the bad habit of going level by level and removing indentation using Decrease Indent. This can take too long, especially if it's a large report.

Don't remove them one level at a time

The Solution: Set Indent Level to Zero

Instead, remove all of the indentations simultaneously. Here's how.

Start by selecting the range of cells you want to change. Then use the right-click menu to select Format Cells. The keyboard shortcut for Format Cells is Ctrl + 1.

Format Cells right-click menu Ctrl + 1

On the Alignment tab, change the Indent level to 0, and then hit OK.

Format Cells Window Alignment Indent

Voilà! You've just removed all of the indentation in one stroke and kicked another Excel bad habit to the curb. Congratulations!

All indentation removed simultaneously

Questions? Leave a comment below! And be sure to let us know if this tip was helpful for you.


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  • I found another shortcut that is quicker for me. I select the center alignment (which clears all the indent levels) and then immediately select the left (or right) alignment. Everything is in one alignment now.

  • Am I missing something? I’ve always just used the left align button to reset indentations.

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