Excel Tutorial: How To Merge 2 Columns In Excel


Excel is a powerful tool for data organization and analysis, but it can also be overwhelming at times. One essential skill that every Excel user should know is how to merge two columns. Whether you're working with customer data, financial records, or any other type of information, being able to combine two columns can make your work much more efficient and organized. In this tutorial, we'll walk you through the steps to merge two columns in Excel and highlight the importance of this skill for your data management needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Merging two columns in Excel is essential for efficient data organization and analysis.
  • Evaluating the data and identifying which columns to merge is crucial for maintaining data integrity.
  • The CONCATENATE function, ampersand (&) operator, and Merge Cells feature are all useful tools for merging columns in Excel.
  • Consider potential issues and best practices when merging columns to avoid data loss and formatting issues.
  • Practicing merging columns in Excel can significantly improve data management skills.

Understanding the data

Before merging columns in Excel, it is important to understand the data that you are working with and to identify the columns that need to be merged.

A. Explain the need to evaluate the data and identify which columns need to be merged

When working with a large dataset in Excel, it is common to encounter scenarios where certain pieces of information are spread across multiple columns. For example, you may have a dataset where the first and last names of individuals are stored in separate columns, and you need to merge them into a single column for easier analysis and presentation.

B. Discuss the potential impact of merging columns on the overall data structure

Merging columns in Excel can have a significant impact on the overall structure of the data. It can affect the way in which the data is analyzed, sorted, and presented. It is important to carefully consider the implications of merging columns and to ensure that it aligns with the overall objectives of the data analysis process.

Using the CONCATENATE function

The CONCATENATE function in Excel is a powerful tool that allows users to combine or merge data from different cells into one cell. This function is extremely useful when you need to merge two columns of data in Excel.

Explain the CONCATENATE function in Excel and its role in merging data

The CONCATENATE function in Excel allows you to join two or more text strings into one single string. It is often used to combine the contents of multiple cells into one cell. This can be helpful when you need to merge data from different columns into a single column, or when you want to create a single cell that contains multiple pieces of information.

Provide step-by-step instructions on how to use CONCATENATE to merge two columns

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use the CONCATENATE function to merge two columns in Excel:

  • Select the cell where you want the merged data to appear.
  • Enter the =CONCATENATE formula into the formula bar.
  • Inside the parentheses, specify the cells you want to merge, separated by commas. For example, if you want to merge data from column A and column B, you would enter =CONCATENATE(A1, " ", B1).
  • Press Enter, and the concatenated result will appear in the selected cell.

Using the ampersand (&) operator

When it comes to merging data in Excel, the ampersand (&) operator can be a powerful tool. It offers a different approach to combining information from two separate columns into one. Let's explore how to use this operator to merge columns in Excel.

A. Introduce the ampersand (&) operator as an alternative method for merging columns

The ampersand (&) operator in Excel is used to concatenate, or join, two or more text values together. This makes it a convenient option for merging data from different columns into a single column.

B. Provide examples to demonstrate the use of the ampersand operator in merging data

Let's consider a simple example to illustrate how the ampersand operator can be used to merge columns. Suppose we have two columns in Excel, with the first column containing first names and the second column containing last names. We want to merge these two columns to create a single column with the full names.

  • Step 1: In a new column, enter the formula =A2&" "&B2, where A2 is the cell containing the first name and B2 is the cell containing the last name. This will combine the first and last names with a space in between.
  • Step 2: Press Enter to apply the formula. The new column will now display the merged full names.

This example demonstrates how the ampersand operator can be used to effectively merge data from different columns in Excel, providing a simple and efficient way to consolidate information.

Using the Merge Cells feature

When it comes to managing data in Excel, the Merge Cells feature comes in handy for combining multiple columns into a single, more organized column. Let's delve into how this feature can be utilized effectively.

Discuss the Merge Cells feature in Excel and its application in merging columns

  • Merge Cells feature: The Merge Cells feature in Excel allows users to combine the contents of two or more adjacent cells into one larger cell.
  • Application in merging columns: This feature can be used to merge data from two different columns into one, providing a more cohesive and streamlined view of the information.

Highlight the benefits and limitations of using the Merge Cells feature for merging data

  • Benefits:
    • Creates a cleaner and more organized layout for the data.
    • Helps in reducing redundancy and making the spreadsheet more visually appealing.
    • Useful for creating headers or titles that span across multiple columns.

  • Limitations:
    • Data may become difficult to manage or manipulate once merged.
    • Loss of data integrity if not done carefully, as merging cells can result in loss of individual cell contents.
    • Can be challenging when sorting or filtering data, as merged cells may not behave as expected.

Considerations and Best Practices for Merging Columns in Excel

When merging columns in Excel, it's important to consider potential issues that may arise, as well as best practices for maintaining data integrity and formatting consistency.

A. Potential Issues when Merging Columns
  • Data Loss

    Merging columns may result in the loss of data if not done carefully. It's important to ensure that all data is properly captured and consolidated during the merging process.
  • Formatting Issues

    Merging columns with different formatting styles can lead to inconsistencies in the final result. This can include issues with date formats, number formats, and text alignment.

B. Best Practices for Merging Columns
  • Use Formulas or Functions

    Instead of simply copying and pasting data, consider using Excel's formulas or functions to merge columns. This ensures that the data is accurately combined and reduces the risk of data loss.
  • Check for Data Consistency

    Before merging columns, double-check that the data in each column is consistent and follows the same format. This can help prevent formatting issues in the merged result.
  • Backup Original Data

    Prior to merging columns, make a backup of the original data. This provides a safety net in case any issues arise during the merging process.
  • Review Merged Data

    After merging columns, carefully review the resulting data to ensure that all information has been accurately combined and that the formatting remains consistent.


In conclusion, merging columns in Excel can greatly improve your data management skills by simplifying and organizing your spreadsheets. By following the tutorial, you learned how to use the CONCATENATE function and the "&" operator to merge two columns into one. This can be especially useful when working with large datasets or when you need to combine information from different sources. We encourage you to practice this skill and explore other Excel functions to become more proficient in managing and analyzing your data.

Thank you for reading this tutorial, and we hope you found it helpful in enhancing your Excel skills. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks to improve your data management capabilities.

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