Merge Cells in Excel

There are many situations in which you may want to merge cells in Excel, so that two or more cells become one larger cell, which spans across the range of the original cells.

  A B C
1 Date Number of Visitors
2 Male Female
3 01-Jan-2011 20 15

For example, imagine I want a heading in my Excel spreadsheet, to be centred across two columns of data (see cells B1-C1 on the right).

This would be difficult to achieve by typing the heading in just one cell, and attempting to adjust the positioning of the text. Therefore, it is much neater to merge cells B1 and C1, to create one single merged cell, that spans across the top of columns B and C.

We have also merged cells A1 and A2 in the example spreadsheet above, so that the 'Date' heading is vertically centered across rows 1 and 2.


Rules of Merging Cells in Excel

When merging cells in Excel, 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.

Also, Excel won't merge the contents of two or more cells. If only one of the original cells contains data, the merged cell will remember 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. You will be presented with a warning message about this, before Excel completes the merge.

You should also be aware that, once cells have been merged, the Excel sort will not work on ranges that contain the merged cells.


How to Merge Cells in Excel

If you want to merge cells in Excel, follow the steps below:

Excel provides a Merge & Center shortcut button Excel Merge and Center Shortcut Button which is located on the Home tab of Excel 2010 & 2007, and on the formatting toolbar of Excel 2003.

Merge Button in Excel 2010
Merge Options in Excel 2007 & 2010

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.

Excel 2010 and 2007 also provide a drop-down menu at the side of the Merge & Center button, which offers further options, such as Merge cells (without centering), Unmerge cells, etc.


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