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.
- In Excel 2019, the Concatenate function has been replaced by the Concat function. However, the Concatenate function is still available in Excel 2019, to ensure compatibility with earlier versions of Excel.
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
Example 1 - Concatenating Simple Text
The Concatenate function is used in column C of the following example spreadsheet, to join together the text strings in columns A and B.
|2||Jane||SMITH||=CONCATENATE( A2, " ", B2 )|
|3||John||DAY||=CONCATENATE( A3, " ", B3 )|
Note that, in the examples above, a space (encased in quotes) has been added to separate the forename and surname.
Example 2 - Concatenating Dates
The Concatenate function is used in cell D2 of the following example spreadsheet, to join together the text strings in cells A2 & B2 and the date in cell C2.
|2||Paul||JONES||02/02/87||=CONCATENATE( A2, " ", B2, ", DOB: ", TEXT( C2, "mm/dd/yy" ) )|
|2||Paul||JONES||02/02/87||Paul JONES, DOB: 02/02/87|
In order to concatenate the contents of cells A2, B2 and C2 of the above spreadsheet, with the date formatted correctly, we should use the Concatenate function as follows:
=CONCATENATE( A2, " ", B2, ", DOB: ", TEXT( C2, "mm/dd/yy" ) )
This formula returns the text string "Paul JONES, DOB: 02/02/87".
Note that, in the example above:
- A space has been added to the formula to separate the forename and surname.
- The Excel Text function has been used to convert the date value in cell C2 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.
For further information and examples of the Excel Concatenate function, see 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.