Concatenate Excel Columns
Here, we will understand ways to concatenate excel column using the concatenate function. Data may not always be as per our demand, and often we may need to join multiple excel columns of data to get the data in the form we want. A very trivial example is combining the first name & Last name to get the full name.
To get data into a structured format, sometimes combining multiple columns or combining columns with some values, which can be pre-defined or may come from a result based on some condition. We will see the various examples below, first starting with the general syntax.
Please see the screenshot for the general formula.
The function is “CONCATENATE” and the arguments are any number of texts that you want to give it to it. The resulting value will be the combined value of all the arguments.
Important Point: From Excel 2016 onwards, you can see “CONCAT” function. It does the same task as “CONCATENATE”. Although “CONCATENATE” is also there in Excel 2016 for backward compatibility, there is no promise from Microsoft that they will continue to provide to do so. Therefore, for simplicity, I will explain everything using the “CONCATENATE” formula, since the syntax & arguments remain the same. Although, if you are using excel 2016 & above, I will request you to use the “CONCAT” function.
How to Concatenate Two Columns in Excel?
Below are the examples to Concatenate Excel Columns.
Concatenate Excel Columns Example #1
We will start with a simple one. Let’s suppose you have “First Name” in one column and “Last Name” in the second column and you want to get the full name by combining them.
Please see the screenshot below:
Column D contains the formulas to combine them.
The Output is given below:
Drag the Formula to get the Result to rest of cells.
In Column D, you could see, I have combined, just the values from columns B & C, thus the result in column D is just a combination of them. But that doesn’t seem right. There should be a space in between the first name & last name. So, now when we use the formula in column E, we have added space when creating the formula.
So the result Looks like as given below:
Example #2 – Concatenating Text String & Cell Value
Suppose we want to join these values to frame something meaningful.
Added an additional column for “Runs”.
In Column G, we created a formula which denotes the runs scored by that player along with the full name.
The Output is shown below:
Drag the Formula to rest of cells.
Another example may be, where the fixed string that I provided above (example “scored” & “runs”) can come from the result of a formula of a combination of both.
Concatenate Excel Columns Example #3
Suppose you always want to see today’s date in cell B2. See the formula shown. We have used the “CONCATENATE”, “TEXT” Function and “TODAY” function. TODAY function gives today’s date, however, it gives the result in an integer, which we need to convert into text & then into date format.
So, “TEXT” function converts the output of “TODAY” function in the format “mm-dd-yyyy” and then the concatenate function joins them together along with “Today is” & “ “ (space) and gives the result as given below.
Besides the “CONCATENATE” function, another operator is “&” which you can use to combine texts. You can do all the above examples using “&” also.
When compared to “CONCATENATE” function, the only difference is “&” has no limit on the number of strings that can be used, while CONCATENATE has a limit of 255 arguments and 8,192 characters.
No difference in speed of calculations either. So, it all boils down to your choice, comfort, and ease of use.
Concatenate Excel Columns Example #4
The last example that we will see is where we want to concatenate the columns based on some special characters like line breaks, forward slash, asterisk etc. based on their ASCII codes (use Char function)
The ASCII codes for a line break is CHAR(10), for forwarding slash, it is CHAR(47) and for Asterisk, it is CHAR(42). Now, let’s use these.
Below is the Data. we want to Combine them using Forward slash (/).
Here we used the Formula to Combine them.
It combines the data using slash.
You can see from the screenshot, that you can achieve the same results using 4 different formulas.
Things to Remember About Concatenate Two Columns in Excel
- There is a limit of 255 strings that you can concatenate at one time. In terms of characters, it is 8,192.
- The result will be always a text string, even if all the arguments are numbers. For example, CONCATENATE(42,42) will give “4242”. i.e. the format will always be text.
- Arrays or range of cells is not recognized as an argument. For e.g., you need to provide CONCATENATE(A1,A2,A3) instead of CONCATENATE(A1:A3)
- If any argument to this function is invalid, it will generate an excel error.
- “&” operator is an alternative to the concatenate function. It can do everything that the “CONCATENATE” function does, without “CONCATENATE” function limitations of 255 arguments.
You can Download this Concatenate 2 Columns Excel template here – Concatenate Columns Excel Template
This was a guide to Excel Concatenate Columns. Here we discuss how to concatenate 2 columns in Excel with practical examples and a template for downloading. You may learn more about excel from the following articles –