How to Merge Cells in Excel (and Split Them) for Better Layouts

How to merge cells in excel: Screen shot of an Excel spreadsheet with cells being merged.

Knowing how to merge cells in Excel is a crucial skill. Although it may not seem like necessary information, it can be more useful than you might think.

Get the most out of your Excel user experience by reading on and learning more about merging and splitting your document’s cells.

Why Split or Merge Cells?

When you are organizing an excel document, the format in which you set up your sheet can be crucial to the information you are trying to lay out or present. A simple step like merging and splitting cells can give your document a cleaner look or make it appear less confusing.

Why learn how to merge cells in Excel (and split them)

  • Centering a title across all of the columns in your document.
  • Organizing multiple sections under one heading.
  • Splitting mistakenly merged cells.

It is important to remember that only cells that have been merged can be split, so it is a good idea to learn how to merge cells in Excel first.

How to Merge Cells in Excel

Cells can be merged horizontally, vertically, or in groups.

The first thing you will want to do is highlight two or more cells in a row or column that you would like to merge. For example, you could highlight cells A1, B1, and C1 since they are all in a row. After you have highlighted your chosen cells, locate the “Merge & Center” button on the formatting bar. If you simply want to merge these cells, click on the drop-down menu and select “Merge Cells.”

how to merge cells in excel

Let’s assume you are merging these cells to create a title that spans several columns. For formatting and visual reasons, rather than just merging your cells, you will want to center the title. To do this, select your cells and click the “Merge & Center” button on the formatting bar.

You can also merge cells in a column using this same method, as well as groups of cells. For instance, if you wanted to merge a block of cells, all you would have to do is highlight that block – say A1, B1, C1, A2, B2, and C2. Then, you would only use the same method of clicking the “Merge & Center” drop-down menu and selecting your merge.

Lastly, Excel allows you to merge several rows at once. If you wanted to merge the first, second, and third row across three cells, you can get all of that done in one shot rather than merging each row individually.

To do this, highlight all three rows together like you did for merging a block. Once highlighted, click the “Merge & Center” drop-down menu and select “Merge Across.” This option will merge all of your selected cells horizontally, but not vertically.

Important Data Reminder

It is important to remember that when you merge cells in Excel, the program will automatically use the data from the upper and left-most cell. The data entered in the other cells will be deleted. Some programs will remind you of this before finalizing your merge. After you learn how to merge cells in Excel, make sure you check to avoid losing data during merges.

To ensure you do not lose any critical data, maintain clear organization of your information. Always double-check what you are merging before you do so. It is a good idea to keep a backup of all your information as well.

How to Split Cells in Excel

Now that you’ve learned how to merge cells in Excel, you can learn how to split them. If the last thing you did was merge a cell and now you want to split it, you can always hit the “Undo” button or Ctrl +Z. However, that’s not always the case. Remember, only cells that have been merged can be split, or “unmerged.”

Splitting cells is very similar to the process of merging cells. First, select the merged cell that you would like to split. Then, locate the “Merge & Center” button on the formatting bar again and click it. Your cells will split into their original cells, and the information will move to the upper and left-most cell.

Splitting cells will not return your lost data to its original cell, so do not use this method as a way to retrieve information that was lost due to merging.

Splitting Cell Information

While single cells cannot physically be split prior to merging, information within a cell can be split into different cells.

Let’s say your cell contains this information:

Blue 10; Red 15; Yellow 11

This information can be split so that Blue, Red, and Yellow each have their own cell.

To do this, first select the cell. Next, click into the Data tab on the formatting bar. Locate the button that reads “Text to Columns.” A window titled “Convert Text to Columns Wizard” with several options will open.

Once you have this window opened, select “Delimited,” then click “Next.” In your next step, you’ll see a list of delimiters, or options of where to split your content. In our case, we would select semicolon since we have semicolons separating our items.

Select semicolon and then click next. In the next window, you can select the data format for your new columns. The program will default the new columns to the original cell, so from here you can click finish. Your finished product will have split the cells into:

Blue 10
Red 15
Yellow 11

As a reminder, your split content will automatically overwrite any content in the cell to the right. For this reason, make sure the number of cells you need next to the one you intend to split are empty.


Excel is an excellent way to organize and present information for various businesses. Merging and splitting cells and cell content can serve to give you an Excel document that is visually presentable and highly organized.

This article contains all you need to know about how to merge cells in Excel and how to split them. Use this guide to master the content in your cells and get the most out of your Excel spreadsheets.

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