What is Merge Cells in Excel?
Merging cells in excel means combining two or more cells together, excel has provided us with an inbuilt button which is used to merge cells, this button is available in alignment section of the home tab, to merge two or more than two cells first thing to do is the selection of cells which are to be merged and then when we click on this button the cells are merged.
In excel, quite often we may want the values of multiple cells to be merged into one or we may need to present the data differently.
There are the couple of ways we can merge the cells in excel. In this article, I will discuss the ways of merging cells in excel, its shortcuts and which one is better and which one to avoid.
How to Merge Cells in Excel?
As I have earlier stated merging means, combining multiple cells into one. One of the most common ways of merging the cells in excel is using the Merge & Centre option in Home Ribbon.
There is an issue with this kind of merging cells. If there is a value in the cells A1 & B1. If I merge using this method, it will only retain the left-hand side value and overwrite the right-hand side value.
Look at the below data first. I have the first name and last name values from A1 to B2. If I want to merge the first name and last name together I cannot use this method because it overtakes the right-hand side value and retains only the left-hand side value.
- Step 1: Data Structure
- Step 2: Select the two cells you want to merge. In this case, I am selecting A2 & B2 together.
- Step 3: Click on the Merge & Centre option in the Home Tab.
- Step 4: Once you click on that option it will open up the below dialogue box and click ok.
Now the result will be as per the below image.
Now excel merged these two cells together rather merging the values of these two cells. The problem is we lost our last name due to merging cells using Merge & Centre option.
Top 2 Right Ways to Merge Cells in Excel
Then what is the right way of merging two values of the two cells together? We have a couple of options for this also.
- Using Concatenate formula
- Using ampersand (&) operator
Let me explain each one by one.
#1 – Using Concatenate Formula to Merge Cells
You know Excel has many functions. CONCATENATE can combine multiple cell values into one. Using this method we can merge first name and last name but in a different cell.
- Step 1: Select the cell C2.
- Step 2: Apply the CONCATENATE formula as shown in the below image.
The formula is for
- Part 1: What is the first value you need to merge?
- Part 2: This is just the space between two values.
- Part 3: This is the second value I want to merge.
So concatenate two cells values into one.
#2 – Using Ampersand Operator to Merge Cells
Like how we have combined two values using CONCATENATE similar we can combine using ampersand operator.
Instead Of CONCATENATE, we just need to insert & symbols.
Different Options in Merge Option
We have totally 4 types of cells merging option.
- Merger & Centre: Merges the selected cells by retaining only the left-hand side value and make the alignment as the center.
- Merger Across: This option merges the cells across but no alignment.
- Merge Cells: This just merges the cells.
- Unmerge Cells: This will unmerge the cells
How to Unmerge Cells?
Now we learned to merge cells in a couple of ways but we can undo (unmerge) that action as well.
Select the merged cells together and click on unmerge option in the home ribbon.
Click on unmerge option
This will unmerge cells but will not revive lost values.
Alternative Method to Merge Cells
Merging cells though will erase right-hand side values. But there is an alternative way where we can merge the cells but as a centre alignment.
- Step 1: Select the data to be merged.
- Step 2: Now press Ctrl + 1 (shortcut key for format cell).
- Step 3: Select Alignment option
- Step 4: Select Centre across Selection from the Horizontal drop down.
- Step 5: Click OK this will merge to the centre.
This looks like a centre alignment but it is a kind of merging cells.
Trick to merge many cells
Suppose if you have the below and you want to merge all the year to merge together then I will tell you the cool technique.
One thing common here is every year has two empty cells before the next year begins.
Now select the first 3 cells
Now click on merge, make centre alignment, and bold.
Now double click on format painter
This will merge the first 3 cells. Since we already double-clicked on format painter we need not click on format painter once again.
We just need to use our down arrow key for all the remaining cells.
As you keep pressing on the down arrow key, excel keeps merging three cells together until you hit the escape key.
Example #1 – Merge Selected Cell into One Large Cell
When the title length of a tabular dataset is bigger in a spreadsheet, then there only a few characters of the text will be visible, with no proper visibility of complete title, so we want that title to be clearly visible.
It can be achieved by merging cells with the merge & center button option.
Here I want to make a clear Heading title in the above tabular data set.
Select the cells you want to merge. In the below-mentioned example, the cells I need to merge is J2, K2, L2, M2, and N2. You can Highlight these cells with your mouse or by starting in one cell i.e. J2, holding Shift, then using the arrows to select until N2.
Once you’ve highlighted the cell range, then navigate to the top banner on the HOME tab and click the ‘Merge & Center’ button in the alignment section.
Sometimes below-mentioned alert popup appears, stating ““merging cells only keeps the upper-left value and discards other values” it means, it will keep the text from the leftmost cell, and remove the text from another cell. You can click ok.
Now, you can set a background color of your choice to make the title really stand out & Visible.
Example #2 – Merge Multiple Columns Of Data into one Column with Formula
All the merge options can only merge the cells, but not the text present within these cells.
If you want to merge text data, then below mentioned steps need to be followed.
Instead of merging the cells and losing the last names with regular merge option, we can use below mentioned two options for merging text data of two cells.
You can combine text data from multiple cells into a single cell using the Ampersand symbol “&” or with the help of CONCATENATE text function.
- Suppose, if you want to Merge two column data without any spaces between the data, then below mention formula is used =A1&B1
- If you want to Merge two column data with space in between the data, then below mention formula is used: =A1&” “&B1
This lets you merge two cells text without losing any data.
Let check out with Ampersand option, I have below mentioned data, i.e. I have the first & Last name, here I need to merge those two cells of a column into one cell i.e. Full Name.
Select the cell, i.e. “C2” where you want to apply a formula for combined data.
Type = in the cell “C2” and select the first cell (“A2”) you want to combine.
Then, type & and use quotation marks with a space enclosed in between.
At last, Select the next cell you want to combine i.e. “B2” and press enter. the formula appears to be =A2&” “&B2.
Here, we have merged the names from 2 columns i.e. first name & last name into one.
Simultaneously it is applied to a whole range of cells to get the full name. Drag the formula to rest of cells.
Example #3 – Merge Text Data using Concatenate Function
Here in Cell I2 type the Formula as CONCATENATE (G2,” “,H2)
Here, we have merged the names from 2 columns i.e. first name & last name into one.
Drag the Formula to get rest of Cells result.
Things to Remember
- If there are any merged cells, we cannot sort the data.
- In merged cells, navigation becomes very difficult and irritating.
- Only for headings use merge cells option.
- Merge option can only merge cells not values together.
- In the case of merging two different values, we need to use the concatenate formula or ampersand operator sign.
- The shortcut key in excel to merge cells is Alt + H + M + U. This merges as well as unmerges the selected cells in the sheet.
This has been a guide to Merging Cells in Excel. Here we discuss how to Merge Cells in Excel using CONCATENATE and & along with excel example and downloadable excel templates. You may also look at these useful excel tools –