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Joining cells in Excel

Back in July Kerri showed you how to split the information in an Excel entry into separate columns.  Now I'm going to show you how to combine them. 

If you've got information that's currently in two separate cells in Excel, it's possible to combine them into one.  You can even put spaces and punctuation inbetween the pieces.  For example, if you need to take the First and Last name columns from a report and combine them into one cell, you can do so and have the result be FirstName LastName or even LastName, FirstName.

To combine the cells using the FirstName LastName example:

  1. Make sure there's a blank column where you want to have the combined name.  It doesn't have to be immediately after the separate First and Last name columns.
  2. In the blank cell, type =(  It's not a frowny face, that's how formulas in Excel start. 
  3. Click on the cell that contains the information you want to display first.  In this case, it would be the FirstName cell.
  4. The name of the cell will be entered into the forumula.  After the name of the cell, enter &" "&.  The ampersand is the character used to let Excel know you're adding something after the contents of the cell.  The " " (a space between quotes) is to have a space entered between the First and Last names, otherwise they'd be run together.  The second ampersand it to let Excel know you're going to add something else.
  5. Click on the cell you want to combine with the first one.  In this case, it's the LastName cell. The name of the cell will be added to the formula. 
  6. Since that was all we wanted to combine, enter ) to end the formula.  The formula should now look like =(A1&" "&B1)
  7. When you press Enter, you'll see the combined information in the cell. 
  8. You aren't limited to joining just two cells.  If you wanted to continue, just add another & after the second cell name instead of the end parenthesis.
  9. You also aren't limited to just adding a space between the cells.  Anything you put in the quotes will be entered.  For example, if you wanted LastName, FirstName, instead of doing " " between the &'s, you would enter ", " (quote, comma, space, quote).  That would put a comma and a space between each section.

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