Excel Tutorial: How To Merge Two Datasets In Excel


Merging datasets in Excel is a crucial skill for anyone working with large sets of data. Whether you are a business analyst, a researcher, or a student, the ability to combine and analyze multiple datasets can help you gain valuable insights and make more informed decisions. In this tutorial, we will provide a brief overview of the merging process, and discuss the importance of mastering this skill.

Key Takeaways

  • Merging datasets in Excel is crucial for gaining valuable insights and making informed decisions.
  • Understanding the structure of the datasets and identifying common fields is essential for successful merging.
  • VLOOKUP and INDEX/MATCH are two powerful functions for merging datasets in Excel.
  • Dealing with missing or mismatched data and checking for errors is part of the merging process.
  • Using advanced techniques like Power Query and macros can enhance the merging process for more complex tasks.

Understanding the datasets

Before merging two datasets in Excel, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the structure of both datasets and identify common fields for merging.

A. Reviewing the structure of both datasets
  • Begin by reviewing the structure of each dataset separately to understand the layout of the data, column headers, and the type of information present.
  • Take note of any inconsistencies or missing data that may need to be addressed before merging the datasets.
  • Ensure that the datasets are clean and free of any errors to avoid issues during the merging process.

B. Identifying common fields for merging
  • Identify the common fields or columns that exist in both datasets, which will be used as the basis for merging the data.
  • Common fields could include unique identifiers, such as customer IDs, order numbers, or product codes, that are present in both datasets.
  • Verify the data in the common fields to ensure they are consistent and compatible for merging.

Using VLOOKUP to Merge Datasets

Excel is a powerful tool for data analysis and manipulation. One common task is merging two datasets to create a unified view of the data. One way to achieve this is by using the VLOOKUP function.

A. Explanation of how VLOOKUP function works

The VLOOKUP function in Excel allows you to search for a value in the first column of a table and return a value in the same row from another column. This makes it a useful tool for merging datasets based on a common identifier.

B. Step-by-step guide on using VLOOKUP to merge datasets

Step 1: Organize your datasets

  • Before using VLOOKUP, it's important to ensure that your datasets are well-organized. Each dataset should have a common identifier that can be used to merge the data.

Step 2: Open a new worksheet

  • Create a new worksheet where you want to merge the datasets.

Step 3: Use VLOOKUP to merge the datasets

  • Choose a cell where you want the merged data to appear.
  • Enter the VLOOKUP function, specifying the lookup value, table array, column index number, and range lookup.
  • For example: =VLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num, [range_lookup])

Step 4: Drag the formula down

  • Once you have entered the VLOOKUP formula for the first cell, drag the formula down to fill the remaining cells with the merged data.

Step 5: Check for errors

  • After merging the datasets, it's important to check for any errors or missing data. Adjust the VLOOKUP formula if needed.

Using INDEX and MATCH to merge datasets

In this chapter, we will explore how to effectively merge two datasets in Excel using the INDEX and MATCH functions. This is a powerful method that allows you to combine data from two different sources based on a common identifier.

A. Explanation of how INDEX and MATCH functions work together

The INDEX and MATCH functions work together to retrieve data from a specific row and column intersection within a table. The INDEX function returns the value of a cell in a table based on the row and column number, while the MATCH function searches for a specific value within a range and returns the relative position of that item.

B. Step-by-step guide on using INDEX and MATCH to merge datasets

Let's walk through the process of using INDEX and MATCH to merge two datasets in Excel:

Step 1: Understand the structure of your datasets

  • Identify the common identifier that will be used to merge the datasets, such as a unique ID or key.
  • Ensure that both datasets have a column containing the common identifier, and that the data is arranged in a similar format.

Step 2: Use INDEX and MATCH functions to merge the datasets

  • In a new column in the first dataset, use the MATCH function to find the position of the common identifier in the second dataset.
  • Next, use the INDEX function to retrieve the desired data from the second dataset based on the position found using MATCH.
  • Repeat this process for each column in the second dataset that you want to merge into the first dataset.

By following these steps, you can effectively merge two datasets in Excel using the INDEX and MATCH functions. This method is flexible and allows for the combination of data from different sources based on a common identifier.

Understanding common issues and troubleshooting

When merging two datasets in Excel, it is common to encounter issues such as missing or mismatched data, as well as errors in the datasets. Understanding how to deal with these issues is essential for a successful merge.

A. Dealing with missing or mismatched data
  • Identifying missing or mismatched data

    Before merging datasets, it is important to carefully review both datasets to identify any missing or mismatched data. This can include missing values, incomplete records, or discrepancies between the datasets.

  • Addressing missing or mismatched data

    Once identified, missing or mismatched data can be addressed by using functions such as VLOOKUP or INDEX-MATCH to retrieve missing values from one dataset and align them with the other dataset.

B. Checking for errors and correcting them
  • Identifying errors in the datasets

    Errors in the datasets can include incorrectly formatted data, duplicate entries, or incorrect calculations. It is important to carefully review the datasets for any such errors before merging.

  • Correcting errors in the datasets

    Once errors are identified, they can be corrected using functions such as TRIM to remove extra spaces, CONCATENATE to combine data, or conditional formatting to highlight and correct errors.

Advanced techniques for merging datasets

When it comes to merging datasets in Excel, there are advanced techniques that can be used to handle more complex tasks. In this chapter, we will explore two of these advanced techniques, including using Power Query and incorporating macros for automated merging processes.

A. Using Power Query for more complex merging tasks
  • What is Power Query?

    Power Query is a powerful data connection technology that enables you to discover, connect, combine, and refine data across a wide variety of sources.

  • How to use Power Query for merging datasets

    With Power Query, you can easily merge two datasets by using the "Merge Queries" feature, which allows you to specify the join columns and type of join (e.g., inner join, left outer join, right outer join, or full outer join).

  • Benefits of using Power Query

    Power Query provides a user-friendly interface for merging datasets and offers advanced data transformation capabilities, such as unpivoting, grouping, and aggregating data.

B. Incorporating macros for automated merging processes
  • Understanding macros in Excel

    Macros are a series of commands and functions that are written in VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) and can be used to automate repetitive tasks in Excel.

  • Creating a macro for merging datasets

    You can create a macro that automates the process of merging two datasets by writing VBA code that specifies the merging criteria and actions to be performed.

  • Benefits of incorporating macros

    By incorporating macros for merging processes, you can save time and reduce the risk of human error, as the merging tasks can be executed with a single click of a button.


Recap: Merging two datasets in Excel can be a powerful tool for combining relevant information from different sources into a single, comprehensive dataset. By using the VLOOKUP or INDEX-MATCH functions, you can bring together related data points and streamline your analysis.

Encouragement: As with any new skill, practice is key to mastering dataset merging techniques in Excel. Take the time to experiment with different scenarios and datasets to gain confidence in your ability to merge and manipulate data effectively. With persistence and dedication, you can become proficient in managing and analyzing datasets with ease.

Excel Dashboard

ONLY $99

    Immediate Download

    MAC & PC Compatible

    Free Email Support

Related aticles