Adding a carriage return in Google Docs

Posted on Sun, May 05, 2013

Tags: data, google docs, technology, tips

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Okay, okay, I know it's not a best practice to create lists in a cell in a spreadsheet. But let's be honest -- Google Spreadsheets are used for a wide range of things, and sometimes the easiest format for the document on hand is one that isn't a very good data practice.

For example, I recently completed a capacity doc where each member of my team filled in goals, progress to goals, and the amount of time spent on different areas in a spreadsheet. Each person had one row because that made it much easier to read (and data integrity wasn't an issue there). But it also meant that we had to list multiple projects in a single cell, progress to those goals in a neighboring cell, etc.

When asked to create a list in a cell, I find it useful to add carriage returns so that each item appears as its own line. Originally I did this by making the list in an external doc and then copying it into the spreadsheet. However, knowing that there had to be a better way, I found that you can create a return by simply using "CTRL + Enter" or "ALT + Enter" at the end of each line.

Next time you need to break every best practice of data management and create a list within a single cell, you know the trick!

Got a favorite Google Docs trick? Just want to berate us for using spreadsheets for a project like this? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Tiana Epps-Johnson is Election Administration Director at NOI

Photo from Ole Husby, via Creative Commons

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