The Excel CONCATENATE Function
The Excel CONCATENATE function joins together a series of supplied text strings or other values, into one combined text string.
The syntax of the function is:
CONCATENATE( text1, [text2], ... )
where the text arguments are a set of one or more text strings or other values that you want to join together.
In current versions of Excel (Excel 2007 and later), you can supply up to 255 text arguments to the Concatenate function, but in Excel 2003, the function can only accept up to 30 text arguments.
Using the & Operator to Concatenate
Note that you can also use the & operator to concatenate in Excel.
This is described in the Excel String Concatenation
Concatenate Function Examples
In column D of the following example spreadsheet, the Concatenate function is used to join together the text strings in columns A-C.
|2||Jane||SMITH|| ||=CONCATENATE( A2, " ", B2 )|
|3||John||DAY|| ||=CONCATENATE( A3, " ", B3 )|
|4||Paul||JONES||02/02/87||=CONCATENATE( A4, " ", B4, ", DOB: ", TEXT( C4, "mm/dd/yy" ) )|
|2||Jane||SMITH|| ||Jane SMITH|
|3||John||DAY|| ||John DAY|
|4||Paul||JONES||02/02/87||Paul JONES, DOB: 02/02/87|
Note that, in the examples above:
- Spaces have been added to separate the different fields. For example, in cell D2, a space (encased in quotes) has been used to separate the forename and surname.
- In cell D3, the Text function has been used to convert the date value in cell C3 into a string, using the date format "mm/dd/yy". If the date was not converted in this way, the date part of the returned string would be displayed as the date's underlying value, which is the number 31810. This is explained further in the 'Trouble Shooting' section below.
Further information and examples of the Excel Concatenate function are provided on the Microsoft Office website.
Concatenate Function Problem
Common Problem - Dates & Times
One of the most common Concatenate problems encountered by Excel users is that the function result shows a date or time as a number, as shown below:
|1||02/02/2016||=CONCATENATE( "The Date is: ", A1 )|
|2||09:00 AM||=CONCATENATE( "The Time is: ", A2 )|
|1||02/02/2016||The Date is: 40211|
|2||09:00 AM||The Time is: 0.375|
Dates and times in Excel are represented internally by numbers. It is simply the formatting of a cell that causes these numbers to be displayed as dates and times. Therefore, when an Excel date or time is supplied to the Concatenate function, the result displays the underlying numeric value.
This problem can be solved by using the Excel Text function to convert the date or time value into a text string. This is shown in the example spreadsheet below:
|1||02/02/2016||=CONCATENATE( "The Date is: ", TEXT( A1, "mm/dd/yyyy" ) )|
|2||09:00 AM||=CONCATENATE( "The Time is: ", TEXT( A2, "hh:mm am/pm" ) )|
|1||02/02/2016||The Date is: 02/02/2016|
|2||09:00 AM||The Time is: 09:00 AM|
The date and time formatting types are explained further in the Excel Custom Number Format page.