Merge Cells in Excel

This page describes how to merge cells in Excel, so that two or more cells become one larger cell that spans across multiple rows and/or columns. We then discuss the limitations of merging cells in Excel.

For example, in the following spreadsheet:

 ABC
1DateNumber of Visitors
2MaleFemale
301-Jan-20152015
402-Jan-20153223

How to Merge Cells in Excel

In order to merge cells in Excel:

  1. Select the cells to be merged;
  2. Select the Merge & Center button Excel Merge & Center Shortcut Button.

    This button is located in the 'Alignment' group, on the Home tab of the Excel ribbon:

Merge and Center Button on Excel Ribbon
Merge & Center Option on the Excel Ribbon

As the name suggests, if you click on the Merge & Center button, the currently selected cells will be merged, and their contents will be centered horizontally and vertically.

Merge Cells Drop Down Menu on Excel Ribbon

Recent versions of Excel also provide a drop-down menu on the Excel ribbon (see rightabove), which offers further options, such as Merge cells (without centering), Unmerge cells, etc.


How to Unmerge Cells in Excel

In order to unmerge cells in Excel:

  1. Select the cells that you want to unmerge (or any range of cells that contains these cells);
  2. Select the Merge & Center shortcut button Excel Merge & Center Shortcut Button.

    Unmerge Cells Option in Drop Down Menu on Excel Ribbon
    Alternatively, you can select the Unmerge cells option from the drop-down menu on the Excel ribbon (see rightabove).

Limitations of Merging Cells in Excel

When merging cells in Excel, you should be aware of the following limitations:

  • You can only merge cells that form a rectangular shape. For example, you can merge cells A1, A2, B1 & B2, but you can not merge just cells A1, A2 and B1.
  • Excel can't merge the contents of two or more cells.

    If only one of the original cells contains data, the merged cell will keep this data. However, if more than one of the original cells contains data, the merged cell will only keep the data from one of the original cells (generally the left upper cell in the range). You will be presented with a warning message about this, before Excel completes the merge.
  • Once cells have been merged, the Excel 'Sort' command will not work on ranges that contain the merged cells.