Google Sheets

How to Use the WRAPCOLS Function in Google Sheets


Google Sheets is a powerful tool for organizing and analyzing data. One of the lesser-known but incredibly useful functions it offers is WRAPCOLS. This function allows you to wrap text within a specified number of columns, making it easier to view and comprehend large sets of information. In this article, we will explore when and how to use the WRAPCOLS function, its syntax, provide examples, and offer a step-by-step guide for implementation.

When to Use the WRAPCOLS Function

The WRAPCOLS function is particularly handy when dealing with lengthy text entries in your spreadsheet. It helps maintain a clean and organized layout, preventing text from spilling over into adjacent cells and potentially obscuring important information.

How to use WRAPCOLS function in Google Sheets

  1. Type “=WRAPCOLS” or go to the “Insert” tab  ➝ “Function” ➝ “Array” ➝ “WRAPCOLS”.
How To Use WRAPCOLS Function In Google Sheets
How To Use WRAPCOLS Function In Google Sheets


WRAPCOLS(range, wrap_count, [pad_with])

  • range: The range to wrap.
  • wrap_count: The maximum number of cells for each column. If the value isn’t a whole number, it’s rounded down to the nearest whole number.
  • [pad_with]: The value with which to fill the extra cells in the range. By default, the WRAPCOLS function fills the extra cells with #N/A.


Wrap simple data with WRAPCOLS

Step 1: Open Your Google Sheet

Open Your Google Sheet
Open Your Google Sheet

Step 2: Select a Cell and Enter the Function

Select A Cell And Enter The Function
Select A Cell And Enter The Function

Step 3: Press Enter: Hit the Enter key to apply the function

Hit The Enter Key To Apply The Function
Hit The Enter Key To Apply The Function

Tips for Optimization:

Optimizing the use of the WRAPCOLS function in Google Sheets can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your spreadsheets. Here are some valuable tips to help you get the most out of this function:

Limit the Number of Columns:
  • Be mindful of the num_cols parameter in the WRAPCOLS function. Avoid setting it to an excessively high number, as this can result in very narrow columns, making the text difficult to read. Instead, choose a reasonable value that suits your layout.
Use It Sparingly:
  • Reserve the use of WRAPCOLS for cells that contain long text entries. There’s no need to apply it to every cell in your spreadsheet, as it may complicate the overall appearance unnecessarily.
Combine with Other Functions:
  • Experiment with combining WRAPCOLS with other functions to create dynamic and customized layouts. For example, you can use it within the CONCATENATE function to join multiple wrapped text segments.
Wrap Text as Needed:
  • Only apply the function to cells where text wrapping is essential. For cells with short text entries, manual adjustment of column width may suffice, eliminating the need for WRAPCOLS.
Test for Readability:
  • After applying WRAPCOLS, review your spreadsheet to ensure that the wrapped text remains legible. If it looks cluttered or too condensed, consider adjusting the num_cols parameter or using a different method for text organization.
Use Conditional Formatting:
  • Implement conditional formatting rules to highlight cells with wrapped text. This can draw attention to important information or help users quickly identify which cells contain wrapped content.
Consider Word Wrap in Cell Settings:
  • Google Sheets also offers a built-in cell setting called “Wrap text” (found in the Format menu under Text wrapping). This can be an alternative to WRAPCOLS for certain situations, so explore both options and choose the one that suits your needs best.
Document Your Formulas:
  • If you’re working on a spreadsheet that others will use, it’s a good practice to document the formulas you’ve used, including WRAPCOLS. This makes it easier for collaborators to understand and maintain the spreadsheet.
Test on Different Devices:
  • Ensure that your wrapped text remains readable on various devices and screen sizes. What looks good on a large desktop monitor might not be as effective on a mobile device, so test your spreadsheet on different platforms.
Regularly Review and Update:
  • As your spreadsheet evolves and new data is added, periodically review and adjust the WRAPCOLS settings to accommodate changes. What works initially may not be suitable as your spreadsheet grows.
Backup Your Data:
  • Before making extensive changes to your spreadsheet, especially when using functions like WRAPCOLS, ensure you have a backup copy. This safeguards your data in case something goes wrong during the optimization process.
Learn from Examples and Tutorials:
  • Take advantage of online tutorials and examples to learn advanced techniques for using WRAPCOLS effectively. There are many resources available that showcase creative ways to apply this function in real-world scenarios.

Real-World Application:

The WRAPCOLS function in Google Sheets finds practical application in a variety of real-world scenarios, helping users effectively manage and present data. Here are some examples of how this function can be used in practical contexts:

Project Management:
  • Task Descriptions: In project management, detailed task descriptions are crucial. The WRAPCOLS function can be employed to break down lengthy task descriptions into manageable segments, ensuring that all relevant information is visible without the need for horizontal scrolling.
  • Meeting Agendas: When creating meeting agendas, you may want to include detailed topics or discussion points. WRAPCOLS can be used to format this information, allowing for easy comprehension by all participants.
Financial Planning:
  • Expense Reports: For detailed expense reports, WRAPCOLS can be applied to ensure that itemized expenses and descriptions are clearly presented in a spreadsheet. This makes it easier for stakeholders to review and approve expenses.
  • Budget Breakdown: When presenting a budget breakdown, WRAPCOLS can be used to neatly organize categories and subcategories, ensuring that all relevant information is visible at a glance.
Inventory Management:
  • Product Descriptions: In an inventory spreadsheet, each product may have a detailed description. By using WRAPCOLS, you can present this information in a structured manner, making it easier for users to locate specific items.
  • Serial Numbers and SKUs: Long serial numbers or SKUs can be challenging to manage without proper formatting. WRAPCOLS can be used to neatly display these alphanumeric codes.
Academic Records:
  • Course Descriptions: In an academic context, course descriptions can be lengthy and contain important details. WRAPCOLS ensures that students and faculty can easily read and understand the content.
  • Research Summaries: Researchers often need to present summaries of their work. WRAPCOLS can help in breaking down complex research findings into manageable sections.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM):
  • Notes and Comments: CRM systems often include fields for notes or comments about interactions with customers. WRAPCOLS can be used to format these entries, ensuring that all pertinent information is visible.
  • Client Profiles: When maintaining client profiles with extensive information, WRAPCOLS ensures that all relevant details are displayed without the need for constant scrolling.
Survey and Feedback Analysis:
  • Open-Ended Responses: In surveys or feedback forms, open-ended responses can be lengthy. WRAPCOLS helps in presenting this information in a structured manner, aiding in analysis.
  • Comments and Suggestions: When aggregating comments and suggestions, WRAPCOLS ensures that all feedback is visible in the spreadsheet, making it easier to categorize and address.


The WRAPCOLS function in Google Sheets is a powerful tool that enables users to efficiently manage and present data. By allowing text to span multiple columns, it improves the readability and organization of information, particularly in cases where text entries are lengthy. Through the practical examples provided, we’ve seen how WRAPCOLS finds application in various real-world scenarios, from project management to academic records and CRM systems.

Optimizing the use of WRAPCOLS is essential to ensure its effectiveness. By limiting the number of columns, combining it with other functions, and testing for readability, users can make the most out of this function. Regularly reviewing and updating the application of WRAPCOLS ensures that it remains tailored to evolving data needs.

Incorporating WRAPCOLS into your spreadsheet workflow can lead to more organized, readable, and user-friendly data presentations. Its versatility and ease of use make it a valuable addition to any Google Sheets user’s toolkit.


Q1: Can I use WRAPCOLS with numbers or dates?
A1: No, WRAPCOLS is designed specifically for wrapping text. It won’t work with numerical values or dates.
Q2: What happens if the specified number of columns is too small for the text?
A2: If the specified number of columns is too small, the text will be truncated, and part of it may not be visible.
Q3: Can I nest WRAPCOLS within other functions?
A3: Yes, you can use WRAPCOLS in combination with other functions to further customize the way your data is displayed.
Q4: Is WRAPCOLS available in all versions of Google Sheets?
A4: Yes, WRAPCOLS is a standard function and is available in all versions of Google Sheets.
Q5: Can I use WRAPCOLS with non-English characters?
A5: Yes, WRAPCOLS works with text in any language, including non-English characters and special symbols.
Q6: Can I adjust the column width after applying WRAPCOLS?
A6: Yes, you can still manually adjust the column width after applying WRAPCOLS if further customization is needed.

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