Computing

How to Combine Cells in Google Sheets

If you want to merge multiple cells in Google Sheets into a single cell, there’s a built-in tool that can help you accomplish this. Whether you want to merge cells horizontally, vertically, or both, Google Sheets provides the functionality you need. Worried about losing data during the merge process? Don’t fret! Once you learn the correct method for merging cells in Google Sheets, you can merge with confidence.

Merging Cells in Google Sheets

You may have column headers or row headers that you’d like to merge into one neat cell. However, you can merge any cells in your spreadsheet, including cell ranges, columns, and rows.

Step 1: Select the cells you wish to merge by dragging your cursor across them. (Note: Only adjacent cells can be merged.)

Step 2: Click on the “Merge Cells” drop-down arrow in the toolbar or go to Format > Merge cells in the menu.

Step 3: Choose the type of merge you want to apply to your cells from the following options:

  • Merge all: Merge all selected cells horizontally and vertically.
  • Merge vertically: Merge cells on top of one another.
  • Merge horizontally: Merge cells to the right and left of each other.

If an option appears grayed out, it means it’s not applicable to the selected cells. For example, if you select cells in a row, you’ll only see the option “Merge horizontally” available.

Merge horizontally in Google Sheets.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

Step 4: After choosing the merge option, your cells will be merged into a single cell.

Merged cells in Google Sheets.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

Step 5: When merging cells that contain data, an alert will appear, notifying you that only the data in the top-left cell will remain. If this is acceptable to you, click “OK” to proceed with the merge. If you wish to retain all the data, click “Cancel.”

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If you’d like to combine the data without losing any information, you have a few options.

Combine Data Into a New Cell

You can combine data from multiple cells using the ampersand operator (&) and a simple formula.

Step 1: Go to the cell where you want to combine the data and enter the cell references for the cells you want to merge, separated by the ampersand, like this:

=A1&B1

Step 2: If you want to add a separator between the data, such as a space or hyphen, you can include it in the formula like this:

=A1&" "&B1

In this example, a space within quotation marks is used as the separator.

Both formulas above concatenate the values from the specified cells into a single string.

Formula to combine cells in Google Sheets.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

Step 3: You can then replace the original cell with the formula results or use the new cell(s) that contain the combined data.

Use the Merge Values Add-On

An alternative option is to utilize the Merge Values add-on for Google Sheets. This add-on enables you to merge cells while preserving your data through an intuitive interface.

Please note that Merge Values is a third-party add-on that requires access to your Google account. You can review the permissions for this extension in its description.

Step 1: After installing the add-on, go back to your sheet, select the cells you wish to merge, and click on Extensions > Merge Values > Start in the menu.

Use the Merge Values add-on in Google Sheets.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

Step 2: Once the add-on’s sidebar appears, provide the necessary details to merge the cells and retain the data.

  • Choose how to merge the selected values: Select whether you want to merge the values in each selected row, each selected column, or into a single cell.
  • Separate values with: Pick your desired separator, such as a space, semicolon, comma, or line break.
  • Place the results in the: Decide whether you want the merged results to appear in the left cell or the right cell.
  • Options: Check any additional options you wish to apply, such as skipping empty cells or wrapping text.
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Merge Values add-on in Google Sheets.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

Step 3: Click on “Merge” when you’re ready, and your data will be combined, with the cells successfully merged.

Please note that the Merge Values add-on offers a free trial period, following which a paid subscription is required.

Merged values using an add-on in Google Sheets.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

Unmerging Cells in Google Sheets

If you’ve merged cells in Google Sheets but later decide to separate them again, you can easily unmerge them. However, please remember that you can only unmerge cells that you’ve previously merged.

To unmerge cells, select the desired cell and click on the “Merge Cells” drop-down arrow in the toolbar or go to Format > Merge cells in the menu. Then, choose the “Unmerge” option.

Merging cells in Google Sheets is a convenient feature, particularly when working with column and row headers. Hopefully, one of the options provided here for preserving your data will meet your needs!

For additional Google Sheets features, check out our guide on how to make a graph or chart in Google Sheets.

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