How to Merge Two Columns in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide


Merging two columns in Excel is a crucial skill for anyone who works with data regularly. Whether you're combining names and addresses, creating a single list from multiple sources, or simply organizing your spreadsheet, knowing how to merge columns can save you time and improve efficiency. In this blog post, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to merge two columns in Excel, ensuring that you have all the tools you need to streamline your data management process.

Key Takeaways

  • Merging two columns in Excel is essential for efficient data management.
  • Analyzing the data in the columns before merging is crucial.
  • The CONCATENATE function is a primary method for merging columns.
  • The TEXTJOIN function offers advantages like omitting empty cells and using delimiters.
  • Special cases, such as merged cells or hidden cells, require additional steps for merging.
  • Proper formatting and adjusting of the merged column enhance data visibility.
  • Accurate and efficient merging of columns in Excel can optimize workflow.

Understanding the Data in the Columns

Before merging two columns in Excel, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the data contained within them. By carefully analyzing the data, you can ensure that the merging process is done accurately and efficiently. Here are some key points to consider:

A. Highlight the need to carefully analyze the data in the columns before merging

Before proceeding with merging columns, take the time to thoroughly review the data in each column. This step is important because it allows you to identify any inconsistencies or discrepancies that may affect the merging process. By analyzing the data beforehand, you can mitigate potential errors and ensure a smooth merging process.

B. Explain the different types of data that can be found in columns (text, numbers, dates)

Columns in Excel can contain various types of data, including:

  • Text: This can include names, addresses, descriptions, or any other non-numeric information.
  • Numbers: Numeric data may consist of whole numbers, decimals, or even scientific notation.
  • Dates: Columns can also contain dates, which may be formatted in different ways depending on regional settings.

Understanding the type of data in each column is crucial because it determines the appropriate merging technique and helps prevent data loss or corruption.

C. Discuss the potential challenges when merging columns with different data types

Merging columns with different data types can present certain challenges. Some of these challenges include:

  • Data loss: When merging columns with incompatible data types, there is a risk of losing certain data. For example, if one column contains text and the other contains numbers, you may need to convert one type of data to the other, potentially losing the original information.
  • Data inconsistency: Merging columns with different data types can lead to inconsistencies in the merged data. For instance, if one column has dates in the "dd/mm/yyyy" format and the other has dates in the "mm/dd/yyyy" format, the merged column may contain inconsistent date values.
  • Formatting issues: Merging columns with different data types can also result in formatting issues. For instance, numeric data merged with text data can cause cells to be formatted as text, leading to incorrect calculations or display of data.

It is essential to be aware of these challenges and plan accordingly to ensure a successful merging process while maintaining data integrity.

Using the CONCATENATE Function

In Excel, there may be instances where you need to combine data from two columns into one. Whether you're consolidating names and addresses or merging dates and times, the CONCATENATE function is a powerful tool that can help you achieve this task quickly and efficiently. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of merging two columns in Excel using the CONCATENATE function.

Introduce the CONCATENATE function as the primary method to merge columns

The CONCATENATE function in Excel is specifically designed to combine two or more strings into one. It allows you to merge the contents of multiple cells or columns by creating a new string that includes all the selected data. By utilizing this function, you can easily merge data from separate columns and simplify your data management process.

Provide a brief explanation of how the CONCATENATE function works

The CONCATENATE function works by taking the text from the specified cells and merging them together. The function allows you to include any desired text or characters in between the merged data, such as spaces, commas, or other separators. This enables you to format the merged data according to your specific needs.

Show a step-by-step example of merging two columns using the CONCATENATE function

Now, let's dive into a step-by-step example of how to merge two columns in Excel using the CONCATENATE function:

  1. Select the cell where the merged data will be displayed: Begin by choosing the cell where you want the merged data to appear. This can be any empty cell in your worksheet.
  2. Input the CONCATENATE formula, specifying the cells to merge: In the selected cell, enter the CONCATENATE formula. The basic structure of the formula is as follows: =CONCATENATE(cell1, cell2). Replace "cell1" and "cell2" with the actual cell references for the columns you want to merge.
  3. Apply the formula to all desired rows: Once you have entered the CONCATENATE formula for the first row, you can copy and paste it to other cells in the column to merge the data for multiple rows. Excel will automatically adjust the cell references accordingly.

By following these steps, you can effectively merge two columns in Excel using the CONCATENATE function. This method provides a straightforward and efficient solution for combining data and simplifying your data management tasks.

Utilizing the TEXTJOIN Function

When it comes to merging two columns in Excel, there are several methods you can use. One of the alternative approaches is to utilize the TEXTJOIN function. This function allows you to combine the values from multiple cells into a single cell, making it easy to merge columns and create a consolidated dataset.

A. Introduce the alternative method of merging columns using the TEXTJOIN function

The TEXTJOIN function in Excel is a powerful tool that simplifies the process of merging columns. It offers a convenient way to concatenate the values from multiple cells and create a unified result. By using this function, you can avoid the hassle of manually copying and pasting data, saving you time and effort.

B. Explain the advantages of the TEXTJOIN function, such as omitting empty cells and using delimiters

The TEXTJOIN function provides several advantages over other methods of merging columns. One of its key benefits is the ability to omit empty cells. When merging columns, there may be instances where some cells contain no data. The TEXTJOIN function automatically excludes these empty cells, ensuring that your merged data is clean and free from any unwanted gaps.

Another advantage of the TEXTJOIN function is the ability to specify delimiters. Delimiters are characters or symbols that separate the merged values within a single cell. By specifying a delimiter, you can control the formatting of your merged data and make it more readable. Common delimiters include commas, spaces, and hyphens.

C. Demonstrate the steps to merge columns using the TEXTJOIN function

i. Select the cell where the merged data will be displayed

Before you can merge your columns using the TEXTJOIN function, you need to identify the cell where you want the merged data to appear. This could be an empty cell in a new column or an existing cell that you want to overwrite.

ii. Input the TEXTJOIN formula, specifying the delimiter and the cells to merge

To use the TEXTJOIN function, you need to input a formula into the selected cell. The basic syntax of the TEXTJOIN function is as follows:

=TEXTJOIN(delimiter, ignore_empty, text1, [text2],...)

In this formula, the "delimiter" parameter represents the character or symbol you want to use as a separator. The "ignore_empty" parameter is a logical value that determines whether empty cells should be excluded. The "text1" and subsequent "text" parameters refer to the cells or ranges that you want to merge.

iii. Apply the formula to all desired rows

Once you have entered the TEXTJOIN formula in the designated cell, you can simply drag the formula down or copy and paste it into the cells of the desired rows. This will apply the formula to each row, merging the specified columns and generating the consolidated data you require.

Handling Special Cases

When it comes to merging two columns in Excel, there are certain scenarios where additional steps are required. These special cases may involve merged cells, hidden cells, or formulas in the columns. In this chapter, we will discuss these scenarios in detail and provide effective solutions for handling them.

A. Scenarios requiring additional steps

1. Merged cells: Merged cells occur when two or more adjacent cells are combined into a single cell. This can complicate the process of merging columns, as the data in merged cells cannot be directly merged with other cells. To handle this scenario, follow these steps:

  • Unmerge the cells: Select the merged cells and click on the "Merge & Center" button in the Alignment group of the Home tab. This will unmerge the cells, allowing you to work with individual cells.
  • Copy the data: Copy the data from the merged cells and paste it into the desired location in the target column.
  • Delete the original merged cells: Once the data has been copied, you can safely delete the original merged cells.

2. Hidden cells: In some cases, certain cells in the columns may be hidden. This can pose a challenge when merging columns, as hidden cells are not included in the selection by default. To handle this scenario, follow these steps:

  • Unhide the cells: Select the entire column and navigate to the Home tab. In the Cells group, click on the "Format" button and then choose "Hide & Unhide" and select "Unhide Columns". This will reveal any hidden cells in the column.
  • Select the data: Once the hidden cells are visible, select the data in both columns, including the hidden cells.
  • Merge the columns: With the data selected, use the "Merge & Center" button in the Alignment group of the Home tab to merge the columns.

B. Solutions for handling special cases

1. Formulas in the columns: When merging columns that contain formulas, it is important to ensure that the formulas are adjusted correctly in the merged column. To handle this scenario, follow these steps:

  • Check the formulas: Inspect the formulas in both columns to understand how they reference other cells and if any changes need to be made.
  • Adjust the references: If the formulas in the merged column reference cells in the source columns, adjust the references accordingly to ensure they point to the correct cells.
  • Test the results: Verify that the formulas in the merged column are producing the desired results by comparing them with the original columns.

These solutions will help you effectively handle special cases when merging two columns in Excel. By following these steps, you can ensure that the data is merged accurately and the necessary adjustments are made to accommodate any special scenarios.

Formatting and Adjusting Merged Columns

Once you have successfully merged two columns in Excel, it is essential to format the resulting merged column appropriately. Proper formatting not only enhances the visual appeal of the merged data but also ensures that it is easily readable and understandable. In this section, we will discuss the importance of formatting and demonstrate various formatting options to help you present the merged data effectively.

A. Explain the importance of formatting the merged column appropriately

Formatting the merged column appropriately is crucial for several reasons:

  • Enhanced readability: Proper formatting improves the readability of the merged data, making it easier for users to interpret and analyze.
  • Consistency and professionalism: Formatting the merged column uniformly across the spreadsheet promotes consistency and professionalism in your Excel document.
  • Improved organization: By formatting the merged column, you can visually organize and structure the data, making it more accessible for reference and analysis.

B. Demonstrate various formatting options, such as aligning text, changing font styles, and applying borders

Excel provides numerous formatting options to customize the appearance of the merged column. Here are a few formatting options you can consider:

  • Text alignment: Align the text within the merged column to improve readability. You can choose from options like left-align, center-align, or right-align.
  • Font styles: Customize the font style, size, and color to highlight important information or match the overall formatting of your Excel document.
  • Borders: Apply borders around the merged column to enhance its visibility and separate it from other data. You can choose from different border styles and thickness options.
  • Cell shading: Change the background color of the cells within the merged column to add emphasis or differentiate it from surrounding data.

C. Highlight the need to adjust column width to ensure optimal visibility of the merged data

After merging two columns, it is essential to adjust the column width to ensure optimal visibility of the merged data. Here's why it is important:

  • Prevent truncation: Insufficient column width can cause data to be cut off or truncated, making it difficult to read and comprehend.
  • Accommodate longer text: If the merged data contains longer text or strings, adjusting column width ensures that the entire content is visible without any truncation.
  • Balance with other columns: Adjusting the column width helps maintain a consistent and balanced appearance within the spreadsheet, especially when the merged column is adjacent to other columns.

By formatting and adjusting the merged column appropriately, you can effectively present and analyze data in your Excel spreadsheet. Experiment with different formatting options to find the best visual representation that suits your needs.


In this blog post, we have discussed a step-by-step guide on how to merge two columns in Excel. We started by explaining the importance of accurate and efficient data merging in Excel. Then, we provided clear instructions on how to merge columns using various techniques, including the CONCATENATE function and the Merge Cells feature. By following these steps, you can streamline your workflow and save time when working with large datasets.

It is crucial to merge columns accurately and efficiently in Excel to ensure data integrity and enhance data analysis capabilities. Whether you are organizing lists, creating reports, or performing complex calculations, merging columns correctly is essential for presenting and interpreting data correctly.

Now that you have learned how to merge columns in Excel, I encourage you to apply the step-by-step guide and experiment with different data merging techniques. Take advantage of the flexibility offered by Excel and optimize your workflow by merging columns confidently. With practice, you will become more proficient in Excel and discover new ways to manipulate and analyze your data.

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