Being able to merge your cells is a useful skill whenever you’re making a spreadsheet on Google Sheets. The feature lets you combine your cells, to make it easier to read and give your text some room to breathe. In this article, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of giving your Google Sheet a clearer view by merging your cells.
Now, there are three ways you can go about merging your cells.
3 Ways to Merge Cells in Google Sheets
- Merge chosen cells horizontally
- Merge selected cells vertically
- Merge all horizontal and vertical cells
These three different methods will dictate the orientation of how your cells will be merged. We’ll go over the differences of these three, as we guide you through the process of using each of them. Additionally, we’ll also provide the pros and cons of each variation, and give you examples of when you should use them. Be sure to stick towards the end where we’ll show you how you can merge cells without using the Format button.
Even if you aren’t familiar with Google sheets, this article was written to be beginner-friendly. With that in mind, here’s how you can merge cells in Google Sheets.
Let’s get started!
Why Should You Merge Cells in Google Sheets?
Merging your cells helps your spreadsheet look orderly, arranged, and neat. It’s a lot more pleasing to see longer or taller rectangles, instead of the normal grid that we’re used to. By merging your cells, your presentation will look much cleaner and easier on the eyes.
This is the perfect feature to utilize when you’re making titles or have a category that spreads to multiple cells. Whichever the case, there are a lot of uses and instances where merging your cells is a useful skill to have.
For one, if you’re the artistic type, then this is arguably the most important skill you can learn to make your spreadsheet look aesthetic. Merging your cells helps you create large sections in your spreadsheet that you can use for pictures, colors, logos, and so on.
If you don’t know when to merge cells, here’s a good rule of thumb that you can follow:
- When you have a title that spans over multiple columns, merge the cells above the column so the title can be displayed over all the columns.
- If you have a category that affects a lot of rows, merge the same-category row instead of copy-pasting the category at every row.
- Adding a logo or picture. Instead of increasing the size of the row and column to make the picture bigger, merge other cells into a big box instead. This way, you won’t mess up the overall format of your spreadsheet by having one massive column and row just because of that picture.
There are a lot of other useful examples where merging your cells can be a convenient feature. You don’t have to follow our suggestions precisely, as these are just general rules of thumb.
With that said, here are the three ways you can merge cells in Google Sheets.
Method 1: Merging Cells Horizontally
In this method, we’ll be teaching you how to merge your cells horizontally. This type of merging is best done for titles, which can span across multiple columns. Horizontal merging combines two or more columns into one cell and is perfect for headers.
Here’s how you can merge your cells horizontally.
Step 1: Open up a spreadsheet.
First off, you’re going to need a spreadsheet to work on. You can use an existing spreadsheet by simply going to the Google Sheets website and picking one from there. Alternatively, creating one from scratch is a great way to apply what you’re learning, even if you don’t have an existing spreadsheet to work on.
For those of you who want to make a new spreadsheet, simply go to the link provided above and click on the ‘Blank’ spreadsheet at the top-left corner of your screen. This will create an entirely blank spreadsheet.
Step 2: Populating the cells with the necessary fields.
Although we could just show you how to combine two cells right away, you might not realize why it’s useful until you have a proper example. With that said, we’ll have to populate the cells first so we can format them by merging these together.
The ones with an existing spreadsheet can simply skip this step. However, if you’re starting from scratch, please follow the example made below. Don’t forget to align your cells to the center by highlighting the cell blocks and pressing Ctrl + Shift + E.
Alternatively, you can also click on this link so you can make a copy of this test spreadsheet.
Step 3: Highlight the cells you want to merge horizontally.
Once you’ve populated or made a copy of the test document above, quickly highlight the cells that you want to merge horizontally. For this example, we’ll be merging the column cells near ‘My Expenses’ together.
Step 4: Click on the merge cells horizontally feature.
Now that you’ve highlighted these cells, we’ll be merging this group together. With the cells highlighted, simply click on the Format button at the top-left corner of your screen to access the drop-down menu. From there, hover over to the Merge cells button and select Merge horizontally.
Step 5: Make your title stand out.
After doing all the steps above, your excel should look like this.
Although it doesn’t look all that different, it’s only because the text of your title isn’t noticeable. To fix that, simply click on the ‘My Expenses’ cell and increase the font size to 24. Now, you should see a noticeable difference. You can also add some color to your spreadsheet and change the highlights, to make it look more appealing.
Congratulations on successfully merging your title cells together! Now, do you notice that some dates on the expenses are repetitive? Well, in the next method, we’ll fix that by merging those cells vertically!
Method 2: Merging Cells Vertically
In this method, we’ll show you how you can merge cells vertically. This will combine the cells from row to row, which is useful in many situations. For this case, we’ll be addressing the problem where the dates on the Expenses spreadsheet are repeating. Besides that, you can also do this for a lot of other circumstances, like categorizing rows with movie genres, fields, and so on.
Here’s how you can merge cells vertically.
Step 1: Open the Expenses spreadsheet.
If you made a completely new spreadsheet and followed the steps from the previous method, then you can simply use that one. However, make sure that you have the parameters identically set, with the same dates that were used in the first method.
For those of you that skipped through it or have your own spreadsheet, you can use your own spreadsheet or make a copy of the sample spreadsheet used in this method.
Step 2: Highlight the cells with the same date.
Since the spreadsheet is already populated with data, we’ll make use of the entries that are already there. Notice that the expenses for Bills, Loans, and Rent were all paid for on the same date? Well, instead of repeating the same date, we can merge the cells where the expense was paid at the same day.
Step 3: Click on the ‘Merge vertically’ feature.
Merging your cells vertically or horizontally, especially if there are already entries in any of the cells, will override some data. In this case, Google Sheets will use the data that’s found at the top-left corner of the highlighted selection. However, since the dates are all the same here, then we don’t have to worry about erasing any data since they are all identical.
Start by clicking on the Format button at the top-left corner of your window and select Merge cells. From there, go ahead and click on Merge vertically.
Step 4: Do this for all the remaining dates.
Now that you know how to merge cells vertically, it’s time to apply this to all the cells that have the same dates. The final product should look exactly like this.
Bonus Step: Some housekeeping.
A bonus step that’ll make your spreadsheet look amazing is to practice housekeeping. The dates are all situated at the bottom of every merged row. We’ll want to change that so we can move it to the center where it can be seen better and arranged neatly. Start by highlighting the dates column and clicking on the align icon, then select the middle option.
And that’s how you can merge your cells vertically! Congratulations on getting this far into the tutorial. With that said, it’s time to move on to the final part of this article, where we’ll be merging your cells vertically and horizontally.
Method 3: Merging All Cells
Lastly, merging all your cells can save you from a lot of trouble with formatting your cells later on. This method will merge your cells both horizontally and vertically, which combines methods 1 and 2.
Before we proceed, here’s why it’s important to be able to merge both horizontal and vertical cells. Without this option, this is what happens when you try to merge multiple columns and rows at the same time.
As you can see, it isn’t quite the result we want. We’re looking for a way to have all the columns and rows combined, not just one or the other. This is why merging all your cells is an important and useful skill. With that in mind, let’s begin the tutorial.
Step 1: Open up your Google Sheet spreadsheet.
For this example, we’ll once again be reusing the same spreadsheet from the previous methods. If you don’t have a copy of that yet, click on the following link so you can make yourself a copy of the spreadsheet for this method.
After opening the spreadsheet, you might notice that the ‘My Expenses’ title is stretching the third row. This is because the font size is too big for the row height. Unfortunately, this can cause further problems if you want to put other normal-sized cells in the third row. We’ll fix this by merging the vertical and horizontal cells into one big rectangle, so that the title can fit without stretching the third row’s height.
Step 2: Highlight the cells that we want to merge.
For this step, we’ll need to highlight the columns and rows from B2 to D3. If you want a variation, feel free to highlight from B1 to D3 instead. Your spreadsheet should look something like the image below.
Step 3: Merge all the cells together.
Now, it’s time to merge all the cells together, both vertically and horizontally. While the cells are highlighted, click on the Format button at the top-left corner of your screen and select Merge cells. Once you’re there, click on Merge all.
Hooray! With all those steps completed, the height of your third row should now be back to normal.
A quicker shortcut
If you found the Format > Merge cells > Merge horizontally/vertically/all process too long, then we have some good news for you. There’s an even quicker way that you can do this. Simply highlight the cells you want to merge, look for the icon displayed in the picture below, then select the orientation of how you want your cells to be merged.
That about wraps up this article! Hopefully, we’ve helped you learn how to merge cells in Google Sheets. With that said, here’s a brief summary of everything we’ve covered today!
Learning how to merge cells in Google sheets helps you design, format, and arrange your spreadsheet better. You can merge cells vertically, horizontally, or both at the same time. There are also two ways you can access this feature, either through the Format button or by the merge icon that’s available in the quick access menu.
We hope that you found this tutorial helpful!