Using Find & Replace to insert line breaks (CTRL+J) erases cell contents

Copper Contributor


First of all thank you for reading my post, I am kind of desperate right now LOL.

I had to paste English text from Excel into Word in order to translate it. The Excel text is really long and has lots, and lots of line breaks. So when I pasted into Word the format was maintained with regards to the number of cells and the line breaks. But now when I paste this translated Word text back into Excel each line break is generating a different cell.

In the past I've used the CTRL+J solution, involving replacing the line breaks in Word with a character that doesn't appear elsewhere in the text (I've used ****), pasting this into Excel, and then using Find & Replace in Excel to find all of the **** and replace with a line break, which used to be CTRL+J, but now this is just erasing all of the cell contents. I don't know what to do, does anyone have any idea about why this is happening? This used to work!

Thanks so much in advance.


4 Replies


The * is a placeholder for anything. By replacing anything with CTRL-J you are left with CTRL-J..

Just use something else like zzzz or $$$$.


You could try pasting back into the formula bar, as opposed to the cell.
There, the Ctrl/J should be interpreted as wrapped text rather than a new cell.
I have just wasted more of my life on this than I care to contemplate, but in hopes of helping some other poor soul: CTRL-J does not work in Microsoft365 (web/online) Excel (it opens Download tab or window). CTRL-Shift-J does not work either (opens DevTool Console window). You have to go to Editing/Open in Desktop App. Then CTRL-J works.

Blooping heck, I hate Microsoft and its insistence on moving its own products into environs where they then no longer function. (See also: what a Word doc looks like in M365 vs Desktop.)