Excel, weird inversion of text

Copper Contributor

I downloaded an Excel file from a trusted colleague and Excel took all the texts in all cells and now displays them backwards and upside down??? Anyone ever experienced this?

2 Replies


If Excel is displaying text backwards and upside down, it's possible that the text direction or orientation settings have been unintentionally modified. Here is how you can fix this issue in Excel for Mac:


Check Text Direction:


Select the cells containing the text that appears backwards and upside down.

In the Excel menu bar, go to the "Format" menu.

Choose "Cells" from the dropdown menu.

In the Format Cells dialog box, navigate to the "Alignment" tab.

Check the settings for "Text direction" and ensure it is set to "Horizontal."

Reset Text Orientation:


With the cells still selected, go to the "Format" menu again.

Choose "Text Direction" from the dropdown menu.

Select "Horizontal" to reset the text orientation to its default setting.

Adjust Cell Orientation:


If the issue persists, it's possible that the cell orientation has been manually adjusted.

Select the affected cells and right-click on them.

Choose "Format Cells" from the context menu.

In the Format Cells dialog box, navigate to the "Alignment" tab.

Check the settings for "Orientation" and ensure it is set to "0 degrees" or "Standard."

Inspect Special Characters:


Sometimes, special characters or symbols can cause text to display incorrectly.

Review the content of the cells to ensure there are no unusual characters that could be affecting the display.

Verify Data:


Double-check the original data in the Excel file provided by your colleague to ensure there were no formatting issues before downloading.

If possible, ask your colleague to confirm the correct text orientation in their version of Excel.

Update Excel:


Ensure that you're using the latest version of Excel for Mac. Updates often include bug fixes and improvements that can resolve display issues.

Restore Original File:


If none of the above solutions work, consider asking your colleague to provide the original Excel file again or try opening the file on a different computer to see if the issue persists.

By following these steps, you should be able to correct the backwards and upside-down text display issue in Excel for Mac. If the problem continues, there may be other underlying factors at play, and further troubleshooting may be necessary.


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It's certainly unusual for Excel to display all text in cells backwards and upside down. While such an occurrence might seem perplexing, there are a few potential explanations and solutions you can explore:

1. Text Encoding Issue:

The most likely cause is an encoding issue between the software used to create the file and the version of Excel you're using. Different software programs can use different ways to encode text, and inconsistencies can lead to garbled characters or display issues.

Here's what you can do:

  • Try opening the file with a different text editor: Open the file with a simple text editor like Notepad or TextEdit. If the text appears correctly there, it confirms an encoding issue within Excel.
  • Use the "Open and Repair" option: In Excel, go to File > Open. Click the arrow next to "Open" and select "Open and Repair". Choose the option "Recover Data" and see if it recovers the text correctly.
  • Change the file encoding: In Excel, go to Data > Text to Columns. In Step 1, choose "Delimited" and click "Next". In Step 2, under "Original data type", choose the encoding that might match the source software (e.g., "Unicode (UTF-8)" or "Western (Windows-1252)"). Click "Next" and "Finish" to see if it resolves the issue.

2. Corrupted File:

In rare cases, the downloaded file might be corrupted, leading to display problems.

Here's what you can do:

  • Request a fresh copy: Ask your colleague to resend the file or provide a different version to see if the issue persists.
  • Try file recovery software: If the file is crucial, consider using file recovery software to attempt recovering a non-corrupted version.

3. Graphics Card Issue:

While less likely, display issues on your computer's graphics card could potentially cause text to appear inverted.

Here's what you can do:

  • Update graphics drivers: Check for and install any available updates for your graphics card drivers.
  • Restart your computer: A simple restart can sometimes resolve temporary glitches that might be affecting the display.

Additional Tips:

  • If none of these solutions work, consider contacting your colleague for further assistance. They might have insights into the software used to create the file or specific instructions for handling it correctly.
  • It's always a good practice to back up your files before attempting any recovery or repair procedures.