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Google Sheets: Create A Student Response Box

Google sheets merge cells

Google Sheets Merge Cells

One of my favorite things is spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are great tools for students to use to organize information. When creating a spreadsheet template it can be helpful to create a box for students to enter a text response. The default size of a cell in a spreadsheet is too small for more than a word or two. Merging cells together to make a large response box is easy and dare I say fun!

Select Range

In the spreadsheet, select the range (group) of cells you want to be merged together into one giant cell.
Select or highlight a range of cells

Using the trackpad on a laptop can be tricky. You can click on one cell and hold down the shift key while using the arrow keys to select your range. Another trick is to click on the upper left cell, hold down the shift key and then click on the lower right cell for the range. This will select the entire range.

Merge Icon

Merging cells is as easy as clicking on the merge icon in the toolbar. It looks like two rectangles fighting.
merge cells icon

Paint Can

My general MO is to have a yellow cell where I want students to fill something out. Click one time on the merged cell and click on the paint can in the toolbar to fill it yellow.
Fill the cell yellow


By default, the text in the response box is small and in the bottom left-hand corner. In the toolbar are 2 icons for centering. The well recognized icon to center horizontally is to the right of the merge icon. Next to the horizontal centering icon is the vertical centering icon. I recommend centering vertically in the middle and probably horizontally.
text in bottom left

Word Wrap

Since this giant merged cell is for a text response box you will want to turn on word wrapping. The icon to the right of the vertical centering is the word wrap icon. Choose the middle option.
word wrap Google Sheets Merge Cells

Google Sheets Merge Cells