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How to limit characters length in a cell in Excel?

Sometimes you may want to limit how many characters a user can input to a cell. For example, you want to limit up to 10 characters can be inputted in a cell. This tutorial will shows you the details to limit characters in cell in Excel.

Limit characters length in a cell

Set Input Message for text length limitation

Set Error Alert for text length limitation

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arrow blue right bubble Limit characters length in a cell

1. Select the range that you will limit date entries with specify character length.

2. Click the Data validation in the Data Tools group under Data tab.

3. In the Data Validation dialog box, select the Text Length item from the Allow: drop down box. See the following screen shot:

4. In the Data: drop down box, you will get a lot of choices and select one, see the following screen shot:

(1) If you want that others are only able to entry exact number of characters, says 10 characters, select the equal to item.
(2) If you want that the number of inputted character is no more than 10, select the less than item.
(3) If you want that the number of inputted character is no less than 10, select the greater than item.

4. Entry exact number that you want to limit in Maximum/Minimum/Length box according to your needs.

5. Click OK.

Now users can only enter text with limited number of characters in selected ranges.

arrow blue right bubble Set Input Message for text length limitation

The Data Validation allows us to set input message for text length limitation besides selected cell as below screenshot shown:

1. In the Data Validation dialog box, switch to the Input Message tab.

2. Check the Show input message when cell is selected option.

3. Entry the message title and message content.

4. Click OK.

Now go back to the worksheet, and click one cell in selected range with text length limitation, it displays a tip with the message title and content. See the following screen shot:


arrow blue right bubble Set Error Alert for text length limitation

Another alternative way to tell user the cell is limited by text length is to set an error alter. The error alert will be shown after you entry invalid data. See screenshot:

1. In the Data Validation dialog box, switch to the Error Alert dialog box.

2. Check the Show error alert after invalid data in entered option.

3. Select the Warning item from the Style: drop down box.

4. Input the alert title and alert message.

5. Click OK.

Now if the text you entered in a cell is invalid, for example it contains more than 10 characters, a warning dialog box will pop up with preset alert title and message. See the following screen shot:


Demo: limit characters length in cells with input message & alert warning

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Related Article:

How to limit cell value entries in Excel?



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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Bart · 5 years ago
    Thanks for the information.

    Is it possible to limit existing text in a column to 30 characters and erase everything that exceeds that limited amount of characters?

    Thank you
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Matthiasagreen · 5 years ago
      Use text to column, choose fixed width and choose the character count you want. It will separate antything above the limit to a new column that you can delete.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Rutger · 5 years ago
    The data validations to limit text length input are clear, but unfortunately validations stop the moment you copy text from another field which exceeds the max in the target field.

    Can that be prevented in some way?

    Would appricate userful respons!
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Matthiasagreen · 5 years ago
      Use text to column, choose fixed width and choose the character count you want. It will separate antything above the limit to a new column that you can delete.
      • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
        Ashish · 4 years ago
        It's not feasible @ end user is using the sheet.
      • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
        Friday5 · 5 years ago
        Can you provide some instructions? Not sure how to accomplish what you are saying. What does "text to column" mean?
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    NyPy · 5 years ago
    This is really helpful, is there anyway to make this count spaces too?