How to Merge Cells in Google Sheets

Learn how to merge cells in Google Sheets in 4 simple steps, how to un-merge cells and other merging options available.

If you’ve ever worked with sheets that have headings and subheadings, you’ve probably wondered how to merge cells in Google Sheets in order to get the most appealing appearance. No one want’s an ugly spreadsheet.

How to Merge Cells in Google Sheets (aka Combine Cells)

One of the most common situations in which a Google Sheet user uses merge cells is when formatting headers. The steps listed below will go through how to modify headers to include subcategories using merge cells.

To demonstrate how to do this, we’ll be listing the first and last names and dates of birth of two groups of employees.

  1. First, create a new Google Sheet spreadsheet.
  2. In the first cell of row A (cell A1), type “Employees Set A”.
  3. In the second row, starting at cell A2 and going to cell C2, input “Last Name,” “First Name,” and “Date of Birth.”
  4. Going back to the first row, in cell E1, type “Employees Set B.”
  5. In cells E2 to G2, input “Last Name,” “First Name,” and “Date of Birth.”

So far, your table should have two items in the first row and six items in the second row.

Instead of leaving the two empty cells next to A1, we are going to merge A1 to C1 into one cell.

  1. First, select A1 to C1 to highlight the range.
  2. Go to Format > Merge Cells > Merge all.
  3. Do the same thing for range E1 to G1.
  4. Now go ahead into the new cells and adjust the text justification to “Center”.

In this case, we create a main heading for a table (either Employees Set A or B) that includes three subcategories/headings (Last Name, First Name, and Date of Birth). This is a basic example of how to merge cells that can be applied to any scenario.

How to combine cells in google sheets

The easiest way is to learn by doing:

Let’s say you have one main header (2019) and six subheaders (January, February, March, April, May, and June). If you want your main heading to span across several adjacent cells (as shown in the example below), you must first merge them.

Merging Cells in Google Sheets in 4 steps

  1. First, you’ll have to select the cells that you want to merge.
  2. Then, you should left click on the Format tab and choose Merge Cells from the drop-down menu, or click on the Merge button in your toolbar.
  3. There you’ll see different options you can use to merge cells – Merge all, Merge horizontally or Merge vertically depending on the cells that you’ve selected. (PSSST. If some cells that you selected had already been merged, the Unmerge option will also be available for you to use.)
  4. Choose one of the merge options mentioned above, and that’s it! All selected cells will be instantly merged according to the option you had selected.

Merge Cells Options Available in Google Sheets

When merging cells in Google Sheets, there are three different options:

  1. Merge all – Use this option for merging contiguous cells into one (if you select non-contiguous cells, this option will not be available for you to use).
  2. Merge horizontally – Use this option for merging horizontal cells into one (even if you select cells across two or more rows, it will only merge the horizontal ones).
  3. Merge vertically – Use this option for merging vertical cells into one (even if you select cells across two or more columns, it will only merge the vertical ones).

However, keep in mind that when you merge several different cells into one, the merged cell will retain the value only from the top left cell. If there were any data in cells apart from this one, you’ll see the same prompt that’s shown below.

Unmerging Cells in Google Sheets

If you no longer want your cells to be merged, you can easily unmerge them.

  1. First, you’ll have to select the cells that you want to unmerge.
  2. Then, you should left click on the Format tab and choose Merge Cells from the drop-down menu, or click on the Merge button in your toolbar.
  3. There you’ll see the Unmerge option. Click on it and all the selected cells will be instantly unmerged.

Other Merge Cell Options

If you are merging cells across more than one row and column, you will be given a few more merge cell options.

  1. Highlight the range you wish to merge.
  2. Go to Format > Merge Cells.
    • If you select Merge All, all cells will merge into one block.
    • If you select Merge Horizontally, the cells will be merged across columns (side-to-side).
    • If you select Merge Vertically, the cells will be merged across rows (up-and-down).

Unmerge Cells

You can unmerge cells just as easily as you merged them.

  1. Select the merged cell blocks you wish to unmerge.
  2. Go to Format > Merge Cells > Unmerge.

Conclusion

When merging cells it is important to pay attention to the values you have already input into the cells you want to join. For example, if you want to merge two cells that already have two individual values in them, the merge will only preserve the uppermost left value. And yes, it is possible to face merge cell overload. Smart planning and using options like the merge tool can help you to make an impressive spreadsheet stand out from the rest.

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