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How to align text across cells with merge in Excel

In this lesson we'll look at how to align text across multiple columns or rows by merging cells.

Let's take a look.

Here we have a simple table meant to summarize the features of a hypothetical service plan.

One thing you might want to do with a table like this is combine cells with like values. For example, Feature Y is not offered in Plans A, B, or C, and feature Z is not applicable to Plan A or B. So, we could combine these cells to visually simplify the layout.

In a case like this, you can easily merge cells. The Alignment group on the home tab of the ribbon provides three merge options: Merge & Center, Merge Across, and Merge Cells.

Before we try these on our main table, let's look at what each command does.

Merge Cells combines all selected cells into one cell. If the cells contain text, only the value in the upper left cell will survive the merge. Merge & Center does the same thing as Merge Cells, but it also centers the text horizontally.

The Merge Across command joins cells across columns, but not rows. If the cells contain text, only the value in the leftmost cell will be maintained. You can select more than one row, but each row is processed separately.

With each of these options, the resulting cells will display Merged on the Alignment tab in the Format Cells dialog box. Unchecking Merge will bring back all cells but without the original content or borders.

The Unmerge Cells command on the ribbon does the same thing.

With all of that in mind. Let's look at our table. We can see that Merge & Center is a good option for both rows 11 and 12.

We can also use Merge & Center to center the table header across the entire table.  


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Dave Bruns

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