Excel Tutorial: How To Merge Cells In Excel 2013


When it comes to organizing and presenting data in Excel 2013, knowing how to merge cells is an essential skill. Whether you're creating a report, a budget spreadsheet, or a presentation, merging cells can help you improve the overall look and readability of your data. In this Excel tutorial, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of merging cells in Excel 2013, so you can effectively format your data and make it more visually appealing.

Key Takeaways

  • Knowing how to merge cells in Excel 2013 is an essential skill for organizing and presenting data.
  • Cell merging can improve the overall look and readability of your data in spreadsheets, reports, and presentations.
  • When merging cells in Excel, it's important to consider the impact on formulas and data analysis.
  • Best practices for using merged cells include maintaining consistency in cell sizes and testing spreadsheet functionality after merging.
  • Avoid common mistakes such as merging cells containing data or overusing cell merging, which can lead to disorganized spreadsheets.

Understanding cell merging in Excel

A. Definition of cell merging

Cell merging in Excel refers to the process of combining two or more adjacent cells into a single, larger cell. When cells are merged, the content of the upper-left cell in the selection is preserved, and the content of the remaining cells is deleted.

B. Explanation of when cell merging is useful

  • Making the data more readable: Cell merging can be useful when you want to create a header that spans across multiple columns, making the data easier to read and understand.
  • Creative layout design: Cell merging can also be used to create visually appealing layout designs, such as creating a title or label that spans multiple cells.
  • Creating form or report: When creating a form or report, cell merging can be helpful for organizing and presenting information in a clear and structured manner.

Step-by-step guide to merging cells in Excel 2013

Microsoft Excel 2013 offers a variety of formatting options, including the ability to merge cells to create a single, larger cell. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to merge cells in Excel 2013:

A. Open Excel 2013 and select the cells to be merged
  • 1. Open Excel 2013:

    Launch the Excel application on your computer.
  • 2. Select the cells:

    Click and drag your mouse to select the cells that you want to merge.

B. Click on the "Merge & Center" button in the alignment group on the Home tab
  • 1. Go to the Home tab:

    This is located at the top of the Excel window.
  • 2. Click on "Merge & Center":

    In the alignment group, you'll find the "Merge & Center" button. Click on it to see the drop-down menu of merge options.

C. Choose the desired merge option from the drop-down menu
  • 1. Drop-down menu:

    After clicking on "Merge & Center," a drop-down menu will appear with various merging options.
  • 2. Select the desired option:

    Choose from "Merge & Center," "Merge Across," or "Merge Cells" based on your preference.

D. Discuss the different merge options available
  • 1. Merge & Center:

    This option merges the selected cells into one and centers the content within the new, larger cell.
  • 2. Merge Across:

    This option merges the selected cells into one larger cell, but keeps the content aligned to the top-left corner of the new cell.
  • 3. Merge Cells:

    This option simply merges the selected cells without any additional formatting or centering of the content.

By following these simple steps, you can effectively merge cells in Excel 2013 to better organize and format your data.

Tips for effectively merging cells in Excel

When working with Excel, merging cells can be a useful tool for enhancing the visual layout of your spreadsheet. However, it's important to use this feature judiciously to avoid complicating data analysis and impacting formulas. Here are some tips for effectively merging cells in Excel:

A. Avoid merging too many cells

  • Keep it minimal: Merging too many cells can make it difficult to manage and organize your data. It's best to only merge cells when it is absolutely necessary for clarity and visual enhancement.
  • Consider alternative layouts: Instead of merging a large block of cells, consider using borders or colors to differentiate sections of your spreadsheet.

B. Consider the impact on formulas and data analysis

  • Understand the impact: When cells are merged, it can affect the way formulas reference those cells. Be mindful of this when merging cells, and adjust your formulas accordingly.
  • Be cautious with data analysis: Merged cells can complicate sorting and filtering data, so be cautious when using this feature in spreadsheets that require complex data analysis.

C. Use merging for visual enhancement, not data structure

  • Focus on aesthetics: Merging cells can be a great way to create visually appealing headers, titles, and section dividers in your spreadsheet.
  • Keep data structure intact: Avoid using merging as a way to reorganize your data structure, as this can create confusion and make it harder to manage your spreadsheet.

Best practices for using merged cells in Excel

Using merged cells in Excel can help improve the visual appeal of your spreadsheet, but it's important to use them judiciously and with care. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when working with merged cells in Excel 2013.

A. Maintain consistency in cell sizes

  • Ensure all merged cells have the same size: When merging cells in Excel, it's important to make sure that all the cells being merged have the same dimensions. Inconsistent cell sizes can lead to formatting issues and make your spreadsheet look unprofessional.
  • Adjust column and row sizes accordingly: Before merging cells, take the time to adjust the column and row sizes to ensure that the merged cells fit neatly within the overall layout of the spreadsheet.

B. Keep merged cells to a minimum

  • Avoid overusing merged cells: While merged cells can be useful for creating a visually appealing layout, it's best to use them sparingly. Overusing merged cells can make it difficult to work with the data in the spreadsheet and can lead to confusion for other users.
  • Consider alternative formatting options: Before automatically reaching for the merge cells option, consider if there are other formatting options that could achieve the same visual effect without the need for merging cells.

C. Test spreadsheet functionality after cell merging

  • Check for data consistency: After merging cells, take the time to review the spreadsheet and ensure that the data in the merged cells is still accurate and consistent with the rest of the spreadsheet.
  • Test sorting and filtering: Merged cells can affect the functionality of sorting and filtering in Excel. Test these functions after merging cells to make sure they still work as intended.

Common mistakes to avoid when merging cells in Excel

Merging cells in Excel can be a useful tool for formatting and organizing your spreadsheets. However, there are some common mistakes that users often make when merging cells, which can lead to errors and confusion. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid:

A. Merging cells containing data or formulas

  • Loss of data: One of the biggest mistakes is merging cells that contain important data or formulas. When cells are merged, the data in the merged cells is lost, which can lead to inaccuracies in your calculations.
  • Error messages: Merging cells with formulas can result in error messages, as Excel may not be able to perform calculations on merged cells.
  • Difficulty editing: Merged cells containing data or formulas can be difficult to edit, as you may need to unmerge the cells before making any changes.

B. Overuse of cell merging leading to disorganized spreadsheets

  • Loss of structure: Overusing cell merging can lead to a loss of structure in your spreadsheet, making it difficult to navigate and understand.
  • Difficulty sorting and filtering: Merged cells can cause issues when sorting and filtering data, as Excel treats merged cells as a single unit rather than individual cells.
  • Printing problems: Merged cells can cause layout and formatting issues when printing your spreadsheet, leading to a messy and unprofessional appearance.


In conclusion, merging cells in Excel 2013 is a useful tool for creating organized and visually appealing spreadsheets. By combining cells, you can create headers and subheaders, format titles, and align data in a more presentable manner. I encourage all readers to practice and master cell merging techniques in Excel 2013, as it will undoubtedly enhance their spreadsheet skills and improve the overall clarity and professionalism of their work.

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