How to merge cells in Google Sheets

By - Dan Millward

Updated -

Any data you enter into Google sheets is contained within a cell. There will be occasions when you want data from one cell to be stretched across a selection of cells. To do this you need to merge cells in Google Sheets.

Not always, but the majority of times merging cells is done to make a spreadsheet more presentable. I’ll show you some examples of when you may want to merge cells. Then I’ll show you the different ways you can merge cells in Google Sheets.

An example of when you might want to merge cells

Below you’ll see a list of managers who are on a rota to work a particular shift. You’ll notice that most of the cells contain data. However, you’ll also notice the cell to the right of each day is empty. It’s empty because no data is needed for this cell.

Although this is perfectly fine and works as it is. It would be clearer and more pleasing to the eye if the days of the week shown were centred between the two cells.

cells in google sheets before merge

To make it easier to read and visually appealing the best option in this scenario would be to merge the cells. Once you’ve merged the cells, the merged cells act as one cell. You can then centre align that cell, as you can see below.

After cells have been merged in Google Sheets

By merging the cells for the days of the week you can see it’s much clearer to notice, which cells below are related to that day.

How to merge cells in Google Sheets

There are two ways you can merge cells in Google Sheets and both ways work exactly the same. The first way is to use the icon that is readily available from the main screen.

First, you need to select the range of cells that you wish to merge. In this example that would be cells A1 and B1. Cell A1 contains ‘Monday’ and cell B2 is empty. Simply select this range with your mouse or keyboard.

Cells A1 and B1 have been highlighted

Once you’ve selected the range of cells by highlighting them, as shown above. You simply need to click on the merge cells icon, as shown below.

Click on the merge cell icon

Once you’ve done this you’ll notice cells A1 and B1 have been merged together. Merging the cells together may not make much of a difference visually at first. You’ll most likely want to centre align the cells to make the day of the week centre between cells A1 and B1.

centre align data in merged cells in Google Sheets
Once the cells have been merged you may want to centre align as shown above

Once you’ve centred aligned the merged cells you’ll notice the data in the first cell (A1). Is now centred between cells A1 and B2.

How to merge cells in Google Sheets

Another way to merge cells

The following method works exactly the same. The only difference is how you merge the cells. Instead of using the icon from the main page. You can also choose to merge cells from a drop-down menu. Again, you need to highlight the range of cells you wish to merge.

Once you’ve highlighted the cells you wish to merge. You can merge the cells from the Format drop-down menu, as shown below.

Merge cells in Google Sheets from format drop down menu
Choose the merge cells option from the format drop-down menu

You can merge cells vertically or horizontally

You can merge cells in Google Sheets either vertically, horizontally or both at the same time. There may be times when you wish to do this. You can only merge cells that are directly adjacent to each other. Once you’ve merged a selection of cells they act as one.

If you wish to remove the merging of cells in Google Sheets. You simply select the merged cell and click on the merge cell icon. The cells will be unmerged and act as they did before any merging took place.

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