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Merging Cells

If you want to enter information across several cells in a row or down several columns in a column then you can merge the cells together.  If you simply want to centre your text across a range of cells then you can highlight the range of cells and use the Merge and Centre icon which is on the formatting toolbar.  Alternatively, you can use the 'Centre across Selection' option from the Alignment section of the Format Cells window as shown below:

The centre across selection facility is not always as useful as merging and centring.  If you later want to hide the column at the left-hand end of your 'centre across selection' area you will lose the centred heading when you print.  However, if the centred heading is merged and centred then you can hide any column within the merged range and the whole heading will still appear.

Take the following example:

If the COMPARISON OF SALES heading is centred using 'Centre across selection' from the Format Cells window and we hide column A our printout looks like this:

If we use the Merge and Centre icon to centre the heading across columns A to C and then hide column A our printout looks like this:

There is also a tick box in the Alignment section of the Format Cells window that can be used to merge the selected cells together, this will not be ticked if you use the ?Centre Across Selection? option from the horizontal alignment box.  There is no equivalent ?Centre Across Selection? feature for vertical centring, if you click on the Merge and Centre icon when a vertical selection of cells is highlighted it will merge all the cells into one long vertical cell but will centre your text at the bottom of the merged cell instead of vertically.

 Before Merge and Centre

After Merge and Centre

The only way to deal with this is to merge the cells yourself and then apply the horizontal and vertical alignment through the Format Cells window.

If you merge a block of cells you must ensure that all the text is entered into the top left corner cell of the block you have highlighted or it will be lost when you merge the cells.  If data is contained in the other cells, Excel should warn you that you are about to lose it as shown below.


The image below shows a spreadsheet with the year cells merged and aligned at the top.

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