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Merge Cells in Excel

Step-by-step guide to combining cells in Excel

Why Merge Cells in Excel?

The most common reason to merge cells is for formatting and centering headings. This guide will show you how to merge cells in Excel, even though it is highly recommended that you don’t merge them unless you absolutely need to. As an alternative, we recommend using the Center Across Selection feature. Learn with video instruction in CFI’s Free Excel Crash Course!

 

How to Merge Cells in Excel

Follow the steps below to learn how to easily combine multiple cells in an Excel spreadsheet. Use the screenshots as a guide and then try it on your own!

 

Step 1

Select the cells you want to merge. Highlight them with your mouse or by starting in one cell, holding Shift, then using the arrows to select to the end.

 

Merge Cells in Excel - Step 1

 

Step 2

On the Home Ribbon, select the Format Cells button, or press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + 1 to open the Format Cells dialogue box.

 

Merge Cells in Excel - Step 2

 

Step 3

Inside the Format Cells menu, click on the Alignment tab and tick the box that says Merge Cells.

 

Merge Cells in Excel - Step 3

 

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Step 4

Click center to place the title in the center of the merged cells and set a background color to make the title really stand out.

 

Merge Cells in Excel - Step 4

 

An Alternative to Merge Cells – Center Across Selection

Merging cells is not recommended because it interferes with actions you may wish to take later while building your financial model. For example, if you want to insert or delete columns across the middle of merged cells, you will not be able to.

You can achieve the same formatting outcome as merging cells by using the Center Across Selection function.

Follow the steps below to perform the action yourself.

 

Step 1

Select the cells you want to center using the mouse or holding the Shift key and using the keyboard arrows.

 

Center Across Selection - Step 1

 

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Step 2

Open the Format Cells dialogue box on the Home Ribbon, or by pressing Ctrl + 1 (Windows shortcut, see the Mac equivalent shortcut).

 

Step 3

Now click on the Alignment tab and then choose Center Across Selection. Note: be sure to uncheck Merge Cells if it’s already checked.

 

Center Across Selection - Final Step

 

Congratulations! You now have nicely centered text without combining cells.

 

Additional Resources

Thank you for reading this guide to Merging Cells in Excel. To continue learning and advancing your career, these additional resources will be useful:

  • Data Validation
  • Dynamic Financial Analysis
  • Find and Replace in Excel
  • Guide to Excel Functions

Free Excel Tutorial

To master the art of Excel, check out CFI’s FREE Excel Crash Course, which teaches you how to become an Excel power user.  Learn the most important formulas, functions, and shortcuts to become confident in your financial analysis.

 

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