How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Compute Expert

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel


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In this tutorial, you will learn completely about how to combine/merge cells in excel.

When working in excel, we sometimes need to combine our cells into one. This might be for the better layout of our data or to better design our worksheet. There are several methods to do the cell combination in excel that you can use depending on your preference and/or situation.

Want to know what are those methods and also other things related to merging cells in excel? Read this tutorial until its last part!

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How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel 1: Merge Menu

There are three ways to combine/merge cells in excel that you will learn here. The first one is by utilizing the excel merge menu. Here are the detailed steps to do that.

  1. Highlight all the cells you want to combine/merge

    How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of Combining Cells through the Merge Menu, Step 1

  2. Go to the Home tab of your ribbon and click the Merge & Center dropdown button there (if you want to merge and center, you can just directly click the merge & center button)

    How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of Combining Cells through the Merge Menu, Step 2

  3. Choose between one of these three options in the dropdown list according to your cell merging needs
    • Merge & Center: merge all the cells you highlight and center the content of the merged cell
    • Merge Across: merge all the cells per row in the cell range you highlight
    • Merge Cells: merge all the cells you highlight


    How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of Combining Cells through the Merge Menu, Step 3

  4. Done!

    How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of Combining Cells through the Merge Menu, Step 4




How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel 2: Right-Click Menu

Besides using the merge menu provided in your ribbon, you can also right-click to merge your cells. Here is the way to do it.

  1. Highlight all the cells you want to combine/merge

    How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of Combining Cells through the Right-Click Menu, Step 1

  2. Right-click on the highlighted cells and choose Format Cells…

    How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of Combining Cells through the Right-Click Menu, Step 2

  3. In the dialog box shown, go to the Alignment tab and click on the Merge Cells checkbox to check it

    How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of Combining Cells through the Right-Click Menu, Step 3

  4. Click OK

    How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of Combining Cells through the Right-Click Menu, Step 4

  5. Done!

    How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of Combining Cells through the Right-Click Menu, Step 5




How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel 3: Shortcut Buttons (Only Windows)

The last method we will discuss here is by using ribbon shortcut buttons. However, you can only use this method if you run your excel on Windows (as ribbon shortcut buttons can only be used on Windows).

  1. Highlight all the cells you want to combine/merge

    How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of Combining Cells through Shortcuts, Step 1

  2. Press these buttons in a sequence depending on the cell merging you want to do
    • Merge & Center: Alt → H → M → C
    • Merge Across: Alt → H → M → A
    • Merge Cells: Alt → H → M → M
  3. Done!

    How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of Combining Cells through Shortcuts, Step 3






Cannot Merge Cells in Excel? Possible Reasons and Solutions

Have tried the methods above to merge cells in your worksheet but you cannot do it? Here are some possible reasons for that problem with their solutions.

  • Reason: Your worksheet is protected from cell formatting
    Solution: Check whether your worksheet is protected by right-clicking on its tab. If there is an “Unprotect Sheet…” option there, that means it is protected. Unprotect it first so you can merge the cells that you want

  • Reason: All or part of the cells you want to merge are inside a table
    Solution: You cannot merge cells that you have already converted into a table. If you still want to merge them, you should follow the direction in the next part of this article

  • Reason: You are in the edit mode of a cell
    Solution: You cannot merge cells when you are in the edit mode of a cell. Press the Esc button on your keyboard so you can exit the mode to continue merging your cells



How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel Without Losing Data

When you merge cells and they have data in them, excel will only keep the data in the upper left cell in the resulting merged cell. What if you want to keep all the data in those cells in your merged cell?

Well, this can be done. However, you can only do this if the cells you want to merge are in one column and they don’t have any pure number data or blank between them.

First of all, you need to select all the cells that you want to merge. Make sure their column is big enough to hold the combined data from all of those cells. Then, go to the Home tab on your ribbon, click on the Fill dropdown button there, and choose Justify.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Home Tab, Fill Dropdown Button, and Justify Choice Locations

All the data in the cells you highlight have already been combined into the top cell!

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Data Combination Result Example by Using Justify

Now, all that is left to do is merge those cells by using one of the three methods we have discussed before.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Cells Combination Result Example While Keeping Data from All the Cells

By doing that, you have merged your cells while still keeping the data from all of the cells you merge intact.



How to Find Merged Cells in Excel

Need to find all the merged cells in your worksheet? You can do that using the Find feature but only if you run your excel program in Windows.

First, select the cell range where you want to find the merged cells (don’t have to if you want to find the merged cells in your whole worksheet). Then, go to the Home tab, click on the Find & Select dropdown, and choose Find.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Home Tab, Find & Select Dropdown, and Find Choice Locations

In the dialog box shown, click the Options button.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Option Button Location in the Find Dialog Box

Next, click on the Format button that shows up.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Format Button Location in the Find Dialog Box

In the dialog box shown, go to the Alignment tab. Then, check the Merge cells check box by clicking it if it isn’t checked yet.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Alignment Tab and Merge Cells Check Box Locations in the Format Cells Dialog Box

Then, click OK.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the OK Button Location in the Format Cells Dialog Box

Now, you have to choose whether you want to find the merged cells one by one or all at once. If you want to find them one by one, click Find Next. If you want to find them all at once, click Find All.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Find Next and Find All Locations in the Find Dialog Box

By doing that, excel will highlight the merged cells for you if there are any.




How to Combine/Merge Cells in an Excel Table

Excel doesn’t allow us to merge cells in an excel table. If we want to do that, we should revert it back to a normal cell range.

To do that, select a cell inside your table. Then, go to the Table tab in your ribbon and click the Convert to Range button.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Table Tab and Convert to Range Button Locations

If there is a dialog box shown, choose Yes.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Yes Button Location in the Convert to Range Dialog Box

By doing that, your table has been converted back to a normal cell range. All you have to do now is merge the cells you want by using one of the three methods we discussed earlier!



Alternative to Merging Cells in Excel: Center Across Selection

Want to make your cells look merged but still keep them as individual cells? You can do that by using the alternative to merging cells in excel, which is by applying Center Across Selection to your cells.

Center Across Selection will make cells look merged by combining the look of all the cells from the most left cell that has data to the most right one that doesn’t have data. That data will then be made centered across those cells if the cells between them have the format applied too. Center Across Selection can only make cells look merged per row, though.

To apply the format, first, highlight all the cells you want to apply the Center Across Selection format on. Then, right-click on them and choose Format Cells….

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Format Cells... Choice Location in the Right-Click Menu of a Cell Range

In the dialog box shown, go to the Alignment tab. Then, click the Horizontal alignment dropdown and choose Center Across Selection from the dropdown list.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Alignment Tab and Center Across Selection Dropdown Choice Locations in the Format Cells Dialog Box

Next, click OK.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the OK Button Location in the Format Cells Dialog Box

Done! Now, whenever there is data in a cell that has the Center Across Selection format, it will merge its looks with all the cells to the right up to the one that doesn’t have data and has been applied the Center Across Selection format too. The data will then be made centered across those two cells if the cells between them have the format.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Cells Combination Result of Center Across Selection Format

However, the “merged” cells are still individual cells. We can still select, input, edit, or format them individually.



How to Unmerge Cells in Excel

The way to unmerge cells in excel is as easy as merging them.

Just highlight all the merged cells you want to unmerge. Then, go to the Home tab of your ribbon, click on the Merge & Center dropdown button, and choose Unmerge Cells.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Home Tab, Merge & Center Dropdown Button, and Unmerge Cells Choice Locations

Done! Now, your merged cells should already be unmerged.

How to Combine/Merge Cells in Excel - Screenshot of the Result Example of Unmerging Cells



Exercise

Now that you have learned how to combine/merge cells in excel completely, let’s practice what you have learned to deepen your understanding!

Download the exercise file below.

Link to the exercise file:
Download here

In the file, you will have two sheets, A and B. Try to make the form of cells in sheet A the same as in sheet B by using the cell merging methods in excel. Can you do it?



Additional Note

Merged cells may make things a bit more complicated for features like sort, filter, VBA, etc. Make sure you merge your cells correctly so you don’t get frustrated when you use those aforementioned features to work in excel.



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