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Merge and unmerge cells

You can't split an individual cell, but you can make it appear as if a cell has been split by merging the cells above it.

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Merge cells

  1. Select the cells to merge.

  2. Select Merge & Center.

    Important: When you merge multiple cells, the contents of only one cell (the upper-left cell for left-to-right languages, or the upper-right cell for right-to-left languages) appear in the merged cell. The contents of the other cells that you merge are deleted.

Unmerge cells

  1. Select the Merge & Center down arrow.

  2. Select Unmerge Cells.


  • You cannot split an unmerged cell. If you're looking for information about how to split the contents of an unmerged cell across multiple cells, see Distribute the contents of a cell into adjacent columns.

  • After merging cells, you can split a merged cell into separate cells again. If you don't remember where you have merged cells, you can use the Find command to locate merged cells quickly.

Merging combines two or more cells to create a new, larger cell. This is a great way to create a label that spans several columns.

In the example here, cells A1, B1, and C1 were merged to create the label “Monthly Sales” to describe the information in rows 2 through 7.

Merge cells above other cells

Merge cells

Merge two or more cells by following these steps:

  1. Select two or more adjacent cells you want to merge.

    Important: Make sure that the data you want to retain is in the upper-left cell, and keep in mind that all data in the other merged cells will be deleted. To retain any data from those other cells, simply copy it to another place in the worksheet—before you merge.

  2. On the Home tab, select Merge & Center.
    On the Home tab, select Merge & Center


  • If Merge & Center is disabled, make sure that you’re not editing a cell—and the cells you want to merge aren’t formatted as an Excel table. Cells formatted as a table typically display alternating shaded rows, and perhaps filter arrows on the column headings.

  • To merge cells without centering, select the arrow next to Merge & Center, and then select Merge Across or Merge Cells.

Unmerge cells

If you need to reverse a cell merge, click onto the merged cell and then choose Unmerge Cells item in the Merge & Center menu (see the figure above).

Split text from one cell into multiple cells

You can take the text in one or more cells and distribute it to multiple cells. This is the opposite of concatenation, in which you combine text from two or more cells into one cell.

For example, you can split a column containing full names into separate First Name and Last Name columns:

Before and after of text split into different columns

Follow the steps below to split text into multiple columns:

  1. Select the cell or column that contains the text you want to split.

    Note: Select as many rows as you want, but no more than one column. Also, makes sure that are sufficient empty columns to the right—so that none of your data is deleted. Simply add empty columns, if necessary.

  2. Select Data >Text to Columns, which displays the Convert Text to Columns Wizard.

  3. Select Delimited > Next.

  4. Check the Space box and clear the rest of the boxes. Or, check both the Comma and Space boxes if that's how your text is split (such as "Reyes, Javiers", with a comma and space between the names). A preview of the data appears in the panel at the bottom of the popup window.

    Step 2 in the wizard, Under Delimeters, pick how your data is split; Under Preview, you can see a preview of your data

  5. Select Next and then choose the format for your new columns. If you don't want the default format, choose a format such as Text, and then select the second column of data in the Data preview window, and select the same format again. Repeat this for all of the columns in the Preview window.
    Step 3 in the wizard, Text option selected

  6. Select the Collapse Dialog Box button image button to the right of the Destination box to collapse the popup window.

  7. Anywhere in your workbook, select the cells that you want to contain the split data. For example, if you are dividing a full name into a first name column and a last name column, select the appropriate number of cells in two adjacent columns.

    Select the cells where you want to paste your split cells

  8. Select the Expand button button to expand the popup window again, and then select Finish.

    Click the Expand button

Merging combines two or more cells to create a new, larger cell. This is a great way to create a label that spans several columns. For example, here cells A1, B1, and C1 were merged to create the label “Monthly Sales” to describe the information in rows 2 through 7.

Merge cells above other cells

Merge cells

  1. Select the first cell and press Shift while you select the last cell in the range you want to merge.

    Important: Make sure only one of the cells in the range has data.

  2. Select Home > Merge & Center.

    merge and center button on the ribbon

    If Merge & Center is dimmed, make sure you’re not editing a cell or the cells you want to merge aren’t inside a table.

    Tip: To merge cells without centering the data, select the merged cell and then select the left, center or right alignment options next to Merge & Center.

    If you change your mind, you can always undo the merge by selecting the merged cell and selecting Merge & Center.

Unmerge cells

To unmerge cells immediately after merging them, press Ctrl + Z. Otherwise do this:

  • Select the merged cell and select Home > Merge & Center.

    merge and center button on the ribbon

    The data in the merged cell moves to the left cell when the cells split.

    Before and after unmerging cells

Need more help?

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community or get support in Communities.

See Also

Overview of formulas in Excel

How to avoid broken formulas

Find and correct errors in formulas

Excel keyboard shortcuts and function keys

Excel functions (alphabetical)

Excel functions (by category)

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