Excel Tutorial: How To Combine Different Excel Spreadsheets Into One

Introduction


Combining different excel spreadsheets into one can be a time-saving and organizing task for anyone who works with large amounts of data. Whether you are a business professional, a student, or a researcher, knowing how to merge data from multiple sources can streamline your workflow and give you a comprehensive and holistic view of your information.


Key Takeaways


  • Combining excel spreadsheets can save time and organize data effectively
  • Understanding different formats and common fields is crucial for merging data
  • Methods such as VLOOKUP, Power Query, CONCATENATE, and third-party tools can be used for merging excel spreadsheets
  • Each method has its own pros and cons, and users should find the one that works best for their needs
  • Practicing and experimenting with different methods is encouraged to find the most efficient approach


Understanding the different excel spreadsheets


When it comes to combining different excel spreadsheets into one, it's important to understand the different formats of excel spreadsheets and identify common fields or keys for merging.

A. Different formats of excel spreadsheets

  • CSV: Comma-separated values format is commonly used for exporting data from databases and spreadsheets.
  • XLS: The standard format for saving workbooks in Excel 97-2003 format.
  • XLSX: The default format for saving workbooks in Excel 2007 and later versions.

B. Identifying common fields or keys for merging

  • Column Headers: Look for columns with similar headers in different spreadsheets.
  • Unique Identifiers: Identify unique identifiers such as customer IDs, product codes, or employee numbers.
  • Date and Time: If the spreadsheets contain date and time fields, these can be used as common keys for merging.


Using the VLOOKUP function


When it comes to combining different excel spreadsheets into one, the VLOOKUP function is an invaluable tool. It allows you to merge data from different sheets into a single, comprehensive spreadsheet.

A. How to use VLOOKUP to merge data

The VLOOKUP function works by searching for a value in the first column of a table and returning a value in the same row from another column. This makes it extremely useful for combining data from different sheets. Here's how you can use VLOOKUP to merge data:

  • Step 1: Identify a common field in both spreadsheets, such as a unique identifier or key.
  • Step 2: In the main spreadsheet where you want to combine the data, use the VLOOKUP function to search for the common field in the other spreadsheet.
  • Step 3: Specify the column from which you want to retrieve the data in the VLOOKUP function.
  • Step 4: Drag the formula down to apply it to all the rows in the main spreadsheet.

B. Tips for using VLOOKUP effectively

While VLOOKUP is a powerful tool for combining data, there are some tips you can follow to use it effectively:

  • Be mindful of the exact match: VLOOKUP requires an exact match for the lookup value. Make sure the common field in both spreadsheets is formatted and spelled exactly the same.
  • Use named ranges: Define named ranges for the tables in both spreadsheets to make it easier to reference them in the VLOOKUP formula.
  • Use the IFERROR function: Wrap your VLOOKUP formula with the IFERROR function to handle any errors that may arise from missing or mismatched data.
  • Sort your data: It's essential to sort the data in both spreadsheets before using VLOOKUP to ensure accurate results.


Using Power Query to merge Excel spreadsheets


When it comes to combining different Excel spreadsheets into one, Power Query is a powerful tool that can streamline the process and save you a lot of time. In this tutorial, we will introduce Power Query and provide a step-by-step guide on how to use it to merge multiple spreadsheets into one.

Introduction to Power Query


Power Query is a data connection technology that enables you to discover, connect, combine, and refine data across a wide variety of sources. It is a handy feature available in newer versions of Excel that allows you to merge data from different spreadsheets, databases, and other sources without the need for complex formulas or manual copy-pasting.

Step-by-step guide on using Power Query to merge spreadsheets


Follow these steps to merge different Excel spreadsheets into one using Power Query:

  • Step 1: Open Excel and go to the Data tab.
  • Step 2: Click on the "Get Data" option and select "From File" and then "From Workbook".
  • Step 3: Browse and select the Excel files you want to merge and click "Import".
  • Step 4: In the Navigator pane, select the sheets you want to combine and click "Transform Data".
  • Step 5: In the Power Query Editor, you can perform various data transformations such as removing duplicates, filtering, and formatting.
  • Step 6: Once you have applied the necessary transformations, click "Close & Load" to merge the data into a new worksheet in your Excel workbook.

By following these simple steps, you can efficiently merge different Excel spreadsheets into one using Power Query, saving you time and effort in the process.


Using the CONCATENATE function


When it comes to combining data from different excel spreadsheets into one, the CONCATENATE function can be a useful tool. This function allows you to join the contents of multiple cells into one cell, making it a great option for merging data from different sources.

A. How to use CONCATENATE to combine data


The CONCATENATE function in Excel is straightforward to use. To combine data from different cells, simply enter the following formula in the cell where you want the combined data to appear:

=CONCATENATE(cell1, cell2, cell3, ...)

Replace "cell1", "cell2", "cell3" with the actual cell references you want to combine. You can also include text strings within double quotation marks, such as:

=CONCATENATE(cell1, " - ", cell2)

This will merge the contents of cell1, a hyphen, and the contents of cell2 into one cell.

B. Best practices for using CONCATENATE


While CONCATENATE is a powerful tool for combining data, it's essential to keep a few best practices in mind when using this function:

  • Use cell references: Whenever possible, use cell references instead of hardcoded values. This will make your formula more dynamic and allow it to adjust automatically if the referenced cells change.
  • Include delimiters: If you're combining different pieces of data, consider including delimiters such as commas, hyphens, or spaces to make the combined result easier to read and parse.
  • Consider using the & operator: In newer versions of Excel, you can use the & operator as an alternative to CONCATENATE. This operator provides a more concise and readable way to combine data.
  • Double-check for spaces: When combining data from cells, be mindful of spaces. If the original data includes leading or trailing spaces, they will be included in the combined result unless trimmed.


Using third-party tools


When it comes to merging different Excel spreadsheets into one, using third-party tools can be a convenient and efficient option. These tools are specifically designed to handle the task of merging multiple spreadsheets, saving you time and effort.

A. Overview of third-party tools for merging excel spreadsheets


There are several third-party tools available in the market that offer the functionality of merging Excel spreadsheets. These tools come with a range of features such as the ability to handle large volumes of data, merge worksheets with different structures, and provide options for data deduplication and data cleansing. Some popular third-party tools for merging Excel spreadsheets include Power Query, Kutools for Excel, and Ablebits Tools.

B. Pros and cons of using third-party tools


  • Pros: Using third-party tools for merging Excel spreadsheets can offer various advantages such as the ability to handle complex merges, automate the merging process, and provide additional functionalities like data cleaning and deduplication. These tools can save time and effort, especially when dealing with large datasets and multiple spreadsheets.
  • Cons: On the other hand, using third-party tools may come with some drawbacks. These tools often require a learning curve to fully utilize their functionalities, and there may be a cost associated with purchasing or subscribing to the software. Additionally, some users may have concerns about data privacy and security when using third-party tools.


Conclusion


Recap: In this tutorial, we covered different methods for combining excel spreadsheets, including using the "Consolidate" function, using the "Copy and Paste" method, and using the "Power Query" tool.

Encouragement: I encourage you to practice these methods and find the one that works best for you. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced Excel user, combining spreadsheets efficiently can save you time and effort in your data analysis and reporting tasks.

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