How to merge table cells in Excel

Merging multiple cells into one large cell can give you a better overview of an Excel table. Do you want to learn how to merge cells in an Excel table in different ways? You can merge rows (horizontal) and columns (vertical) in an Excel table with a tool. This tool is called Merge & Center and can be found in the ribbon or the Mini toolbar menu when you right-click on the cells. We will show you several methods to use.

Merging multiple table cells

There are different methods to merge table cells in Excel, which we will explain in this article. Therefore, we will show you how to use the Merge & Center tool in the ribbon. The fastest way is to use a keyboard shortcut. You can even open the Format Cells dialog box from the context menu. When you right-click on your selected cells, you can also see the mini toolbar and click on the merging icon.

There are three different merging options:

  1. Combines cells and center the content to create titles or labels > Merge & Center
  2. Merge cells in the same row > Merge Across
  3. Merge cells into one cell (columns and rows) > Merge Cells

Please notice that when you merge cells in an Excel table, it will affect your data. When you merge multiple cells with data, it will only keep the content of the upper-left cell. You will receive a warning before Excel merges cells that look like the picture below. Merging cells only keeps the upper-left value and discards other values.

how to merge table cells in Excel

Remember that there are a few things you can’t do when you merge cells:

  • Sort data of merged cells
  • Filter data of merged cells
  • Paste values into merged cells with a different size

You will get a warning when you try to copy and paste some content into merged cells.

how to merge table cells in Excel
how to merge table cells in Excel

Merge columns in an Excel table using the Merge & Center

One of the easiest methods to merge multiple cells in an Excel table is to use the Merge & Center tool in the ribbon. In our example, we will select the range (A3:A8) and combine all the cells in this column.

  1. You select the range of cells you want to merge
  2. Then click on the Merge & Center icon (under the Alignment group) in the ribbon
  3. Click OK in the warning box (if it appears)

One the right picture, you can see how it will only keep the content of cell A3.

Merge rows with the Merge Across option

You can merge rows in an Excel table using the Merge Across option. This option is only for merging rows and horizontal cells.

  • Click on the arrow next to the Merge & Center icon
  • It will give you a few more options; Merge Across, Merge Cells, or Unmerge Cells
    • The Merge Across option only works for combining cells in rows
    • Merge cells combine the cells for rows and columns but do not center content
    • Unmerge cells when you want to remove

Suppose you don’t want to center your content in the horizontal cells. Then click on the arrow next to the Merge & Center icon and select Merge Across. This option allows you to merge cells in the same row into one large cell.

Merge & Center greyed out

Sometimes you can’t click on the Merge & Center tool in the ribbon because it is greyed out. It could mean three things;

  1. The Excel worksheet or workbook is protected
  2. Your Excel workbook is shared

Please check whether you have shared your Excel workbook. Go to Review > under the Protect group > Check if these three are disabled. It should look like the picture below.

Protected view

Use a keyboard shortcut to merge table cells

The fastest option is to use a shortcut to combine the cells. It will use the Merge & Center command.

  • First, you need to select the range of cells
  • Then press Alt + H + M + C

How to merge table cells using the Format Cells dialog box

Using the Format Cells dialog box is possible, but it will cost you more time. So first, we will show you how to open the Format Cells dialog box in three different ways. Then we will guide you on which options you have to change in the Format Cells dialog box.

The fastest option is to use the keyboard shortcut to open the Format Cells dialog box:

  • Select the cells you want to merge
  • Press Ctrl + 1

Another easy and fast option to open the Format Cells dialog box:

  • Select the range of cells
  • Go to the Home tab in the ribbon
  • Click on the launch icon in the down-right corner of the Alignment group in the ribbon
Icon format cells open

A third method to open the Format Cells dialog box:

  • Select the cells you want to merge
  • Right-click on the cells
  • Select Format Cells to open the Format Cells dialog box
Format cells right-click

Once you open the Format Cells dialog box, you need to make a few changes.

Follow these steps below in the Format Cells dialog box:

  • Go to the Alignment tab
  • Select Merge Cells under Text control
  • Click OK

Now it will merge your selected cells in Excel. Again, this is a longer process than the other methods.

how to merge table cells in Excel

Merge horizontal cells in a table

You can also center the horizontal cells without using the merge function. With this option, it is only possible to merge rows in an Excel table. It is essential to understand that the text should be in the left cell, and the other cells in the row should be empty. You will also need to open and make changes in the Format Cells dialog box.

  • Select the cells you want to format
  • Right-click on the cells > Select Format Cells

In our example, we selected the range A1:AE, but the text is in cell A1 and will remain there. Then follow these steps in the Format Cells dialog box:

  • Go to the Alignment tab
  • Under Text alignment > Horizontal > Click on the arrow
  • Choose Center Across Selection
  • Click OK
how to merge table cells in Excel

Now you can see that the cells are combined, and the text is centered in the middle. The difference is that we did not use the Merge & Center tool. Therefore, the Merge & Center function is not highlighted in dark grey on the ribbon, as shown in the picture below.

You can still click on each separate cell A1, A2, A3, and so on. The individual cells are still there, but you can’t see their borders. The text remains in the first cell (A1) even though you see it centered across the cells in the row.

how to merge table row cells in Excel

Right-click and use the Mini toolbar menu

When you right-click on your Excel sheet, two menus appear. One of them is called the context menu, which we discussed before. The other one appears above it and is called the Mini toolbar menu.

When you right-click on your selected range of cells, you can select the Merge & Center tool from the Mini toolbar menu. It will automatically merge the cells you selected.

Mini Toolbar menu merge cells Excel

Mini toolbar menu is not showing

Suppose you can’t see the Mini toolbar menu. You can change these settings in the Excel Options dialog box. There are a few ways to open the Excel Options dialog box.

Three different ways to open the Excel Options dialog box:

  • Use the keyboard shortcut: Alt + F + T
  • Or right-click anywhere on the ribbon > Customize the ribbon
Customize ribbon
  • Or click on the File tab in the ribbon
  • It will redirect you to the main page. Then go down to More > Select Options. It will open the Word Options dialog box.

Problem opening Excel Options dialog box

Sometimes all these options mentioned above don’t open the Excel Options dialog box in your Excel worksheet. It is not a big problem because there is a solution to be able to open the Excel Options dialog box. If you can’t open the Excel Options dialog box, then follow these steps below to solve it:

  • Close all open Excel files
  • Go to Start and type Excel in the search box
  • Click on the Excel icon to open the application
  • It will open Excel but don’t open a new blank workbook
  • Go directly to the bottom left and select > (More) > Options
  • The Excel Options dialog box will appear

Show Mini toolbar on selection

Suppose you can’t see the Mini toolbar menu appear. You will need to follow the steps below to enable the Mini toolbar in Excel.

First, you need to open the Excel Options dialog box. Choose one of these options below

  1. Go to File > (More) > Click on Options
  2. Press the keyboard shortcut: Alt + F + T
  3. Or right-click anywhere in your ribbon > Select Customize the Ribbon

Once you open the Excel Options dialog box, follow the steps below:

  • In the left pane > click on General
  • Now click in the check box > Show Mini Toolbar on selection
  • Lastly, click OK
show mini toolbar on selection

Conclusion

You learned how to merge table rows and columns in an Excel table. You can easily use the Merge & Center function from the ribbon or a keyboard shortcut. Another option is to merge table columns in Excel using the Format Cells dialog box. Or right-click and use Merge & Center icon from the Mini toolbar menu. If the Merge & Center tool is greyed out, your Excel workbook is either protected or shared.

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