Merging cells in Google Sheets offers readability and clarity. It’s especially useful if you need to type in long text in cells that would otherwise cause clutter.
Cells can be merged either horizontally, vertically, and in both directions as well. We’ll now cover how you can merge cells and explain each merging type with detailed examples as well.
Merge cells in Google Sheets web app
Open the spreadsheet in which you want to merge cells in. Then:
- Select all the cells you want to merge. Just make sure they’re two or more cells in number.
- Click on Format in the top menu bar
- A drop down menu will now open. From there, you can select which way you want to merge. It can either be vertically, horizontally, or both.
As you can see, only the possible merge settings are available. The rest will be greyed out.
Let’s go through the different options and see how they will work.
this setting turns all your selected cells into one big cell. If you have 8 cells selected in 2 rows and 2 columns, they will become one. All horizontal and vertical lines between the cells will be removed along with any data other than the left-most cell.
When we select ‘merge horizontally’, all vertical lines in the range will be removed and only the rows will retain their data. Anything that exists in the columns will be removed after you accept the warning.
Merging vertically does the opposite of merge horizontally. All horizontal lines will be removed and only column lines will remain. Any existing data in the rows will be deleted when you accept the warning.
Merge cells in Google Sheets mobile app
It works pretty similarly to the web app. All you need to do is open the Sheets app on your phone select the cells that need merging. Once selected, press the Merge button at the bottom of the screen to do it.
Note: The only thing different from the web app is that you can only do ‘Merge all’ from the phone.
If you need to unmerge, simply select the range again and press the Merge icon indicated in the above picture.
Google Sheets merge icon
Another way to merge cells is to select them and click on the merge icon button in the toolbar. Pressing the button will activate ‘Merge all’ by default. If you want to choose how to merge, you need to click on the arrow next to open the dropdown menu.
One important thing to remember is that only the data in the left-most cell of your selected range will keep its data.
Can I merge cells without losing data?
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
Whenever you merge cells and in whichever direction, only the data in the left-most cell will be kept. Everything other than it will be erased and the only way to recover is through the undo button (CTRL + Z).
Keyboard shortcut for merging cells
Sadly, there aren’t any exact keyboard shortcuts that can do merging for you. The only keyboard shortcut you can use is to open the format menu and jump to the Merge section.
The shortcut for the Merge setting is: Alt + O > M > Enter
Alt + O opens the formatting menu, M jumps you to the Merge section, and Enter selects Merge all.
Why cant I merge cells?
There are 2 possible reasons why you can’t merge cells:
- You’ve already merged vertically or horizontally on the same cell range.
- You’ve selected an invalid combination of cells.
If you select a range of cells to merge and get the following error:
It’s because you’re trying to apply another merge. Whenever you merge in either direction, you can’t apply a merge on top of it. In short: Two-way merges can’t happen when one has been applied already.
Another reason for an error is that you’ve selected a weird combination to merge. Whenever you select a range, you need to make sure that it’s either a rectangle or a square shape. Any other combination will grey out the merging option for you.
Unmerging cells is just as simple as merging them. Simply select the cell range and open the Format menu and select unmerge.
Another way to do it is to select the range and use the Merge icon in the toolbar.
You can unmerge individual cells from the entire range you’ve merged as well.
We hope our detailed guide has solved your problems. You should definitely check our IMPORTRANGE guide on Google Sheets as well. Other than that, we have a bunch of Google Sheets tricks and tips for your reading as well.
Let us know in the comments if you want us to cover any specific topic in the future!
I love understanding how different technologies work and explaining them to people. From tech guides to opinions, everything is interesting to me. Other than that, I enjoy writing about various science-related topics and conversing with people.