Understanding the ins and outs of Excel is essential to organizing data, understanding analysis, and getting the most out of your marketing efforts. The tool is ideal for processing large amounts of data quickly. However, it can be overwhelming if you don’t spend most of your work day creating spreadsheets.
Fortunately, a few basic skills are enough to put together an easy-to-read table. You know how to merge cells in Excel. Whether you’re planning on blog posts for the coming quarter, building an email list for a targeted campaign, or designing SEO-friendly Google ads, merging cells is a handy way to organize your information.
To improve your skills, we’re going to cover different ways to combine cells.
- How to merge two cells
- Here’s how to merge cells and center them
- How to merge multiple cells
- How to merge cells without losing data
- A link to merge cells
- Why can’t I merge cells?
Don’t want to start from scratch? Use these free Excel templates as the basis for your own marketing spreadsheets.
How to merge two cells in Excel
Merging is a way of turning two small cells into one new, large cell. This is useful for organizing information and creating headers without having to resize individual cells. Find out how to do it.
Step 1: Highlight the two adjacent cells that you want to merge (in the example A1 and B1 are merged).
Step 2: under the At home Tab, click the “Merge” icon and choose “Merge Cells”.
Step 3: that’s it! You merged the cells.
Note: When combining cells, only the data in the top left cell is saved. Make sure to save the information from the other cell so it is not lost. If you have dates in both A1 and B1, Excel doesn’t just erase them. This warning is displayed:
Don’t you want to delete the data? Click Cancel and copy the information before merging. If you just need the information in the top left cell, click OK to merge the cells.
How to merge and center cells in Excel
For example, let’s say you’re doing a marketing report and want your titles to be centered over your data. Merge and center the cells by following the steps below.
Step 1: Highlight the cells that you want to merge.
Step 2: under the At home On the tab, click the Merge icon and choose Merge And Center.
Step 3: Your cells will be merged and the data will be centered within the cell.
How to merge cells in an Excel link
Clicking the correct ‘merge’ function repeatedly can be a drag when you need to combine a lot of cells. For a quick merge, start by highlighting the cells you want to merge. Then enter the following keyboard shortcuts.
Excel shortcuts for Windows
- Connect cells: ALT H + M + M
- Merge & Center: ALT H + M + C.
- Merging Across: ALT H + M + A
- Unlock cells: ALT H + M + U
Excel shortcuts for OS
The Apple operating system doesn’t have an ALT key, so you’ll need to set up your own shortcut to merge cells.
- In Excel, click Tools on the navigation bar.
- Choose Customize Keyboard.
- A popup will appear. There are two columns under the “Specify Command” heading: Categories and Commands. For Categories, select the Home tab. For commands, choose Merge Cells.
- Select the text field under “Press new key combination”. Enter the keyboard shortcut for your shortcut. For example: CONTROL + M.
- Click OK to set your association.
- You can now use Ctrl + M to merge cells in Excel.
- Set up additional links for Merge Across, Merge & Center or Unmerge.
How to merge multiple cells in Excel
You know the basics, but now you want to get creative and merge more than two cells. Depending on your desired spreadsheet layout, you can use the merge via, merge cells, or merge and center functions.
1. Merge Across
This option is used to merge cells into a single row. You cannot use Merge Across to combine cells within a column or across rows.
In this example, I’m setting up PPC ads and I want to see my description copy on line 17. If I just resize column F, my table has too much space between columns F and G. By merging multiple cells in row 17, I can look at the copy and keep the table clean.
Step 1: Highlight all the cells that you want to merge within the row.
Step 2: On the Home tab, click the Merge icon and choose Merge Across.
Step 3: The cells blend over the entire highlighted area.
2. Merge & center
You can merge and center multiple cells across rows and columns. Remember, the data in the top left cell is the only information that will be preserved after the merge. In the example below, I’ll use ‘Merge & Center’ to combine rows 15, 16, and 17 with columns F, G, and H.
3. Merge cells
The “Merge Cells” function is ideal for combining multiple adjacent cells across rows and columns. It works exactly like the Merge & Center function, except that after the merge, the data is left-justified instead of centered.
How to merge cells in Excel without losing data
Do you want to merge cells without losing information from all but the top left cell? Easy. You can use the ampersand (&) or the CONCATENATE function to combine data from two or more cells.
In the example below, I’m making a copy for Instagram and I want to combine the caption with the appropriate link.
Step 1: Select the cell where you want to put the merged data. Make sure this is separate from the cells you are merging.
Step 2: Type = in the blank cell and select the first cell to combine.
Step 3: Enter & and use “” to leave a space between the cell data.
Step 4: Enter & again before selecting the next cell. Repeat this process for all cells that you want to combine. An example formula is = D5 & “” & E5.
Step 5: Hit Enter. In the example you can see how the text from cells D5 and E5 has been merged into F5.
CONCATENATE or CONCAT
The CONCATENATE function (or CONCAT) is another way of combining two or more text strings together.
The formula in Excel is = CONCATENATE (text1, text2, …). Text1 is the first cell to be merged and can be a text value, number, or cell reference. Text2 is the next element to be connected. You can merge up to 255 elements or 8,192 characters for this function.
Step 1: Highlight a new blank cell that you want to merge the data into.
Step 2: In the formula bar, type = CONCATENATE (
Step 3: A formula builder will appear where you can choose Text1, Text2, etc. Select the cells you want to merge, in order from first to last. To include spaces between cell data, you must include “” in the formula. [i.e. =CONCATENATE(D5,” “,E5)]
Step 4: Hit Enter. The data of your selected cells are summarized in the CONCATENATE cell.
Why can’t I merge cells in Excel?
A lot can go wrong if your formula or formatting isn’t set up correctly. If you’re having trouble merging cells, try these troubleshooting tips.
- Make sure that you are not actively editing any cell that you want to merge. The merge icon disappears when you are making changes. To fix this, just hit Enter to finish editing or click another cell before clicking back on the cell you want to merge.
- Check whether one of the cells is part of an Excel spreadsheet. Tables have a unique format that does not allow merging. You can tell you are in a table when the Chart Design or Format tabs at the top of your workbook are highlighted in green and the Merge icon is hidden.
- Take a look at the sharing permissions of the Excel workbook. If it’s not shared or protected with you, you won’t be able to make changes or merge cells.
How to solve cells
Perhaps when you tried your new skills and brought one cell too many together, you were a little excited. No panic. Just separate your cells by following these steps.
- Highlight the cells that you want to remove.
- Under the At home On the tab, click the Merge icon and choose Unwrap Cells.
- Your cells will return to their original formatting, but you lost the information before the merge.
- If you need this information, click Command + Z (OS) or Ctrl + Z (Windows) to undo your actions until you see the data.