The consolidate function in Excel allows an analyst to combine information from multiple workbooks into one place. The Excel consolidate function lets you select data from its various locations and creates a table to summarizes the information for you.
We’ve created a step by step guide to help you create your own consolidation by combining similarly organized data across multiple sheets and books.
The screenshots below will help you see an example of how to use the Excel consolidate function:
Step 1: Open all files (workbooks) that contain the data you want to consolidate.
Step 2: Ensure the data is organized in the same way (see example below).
Step 3: On the Data ribbons select Data Tools and then Consolidate.
Step 4: Select the method of consolidation (in our example it’s Sum).
Step 5: Select the data including the labels and click Add
Step 6: Repeat step 5 for each worksheet or workbook that contains the data
Step 7: Check boxes “top row”, “left column” and “create links to data source” (note you don’t have to tick these boxes if you don’t want labels or don’t want live links) and click the OK button.
There are many reasons a financial analyst may want to use this function. One example would be combining budgets from various departments into one company-wide budget. This may be common for an analyst or manager working in financial planning and analysis (FP&A) or other accounting functions.
The Excel consolidate function will still work if there are different labels in the left column. The key is to use labels carefully and ensure they are the same in each table (i.e. if you have a spelling mistake, or slightly different version of the label, it will treat them as separate).
Check out our free Excel crash course to learn more tips, tricks, and best practices in Excel. We’ve also developed a large library of other resources any financial analyst will find useful for their financial modeling skills, including: