Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Combining Cell Contents.

Combining Cell Contents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 7, 2014)

At the heart of Excel is the ability to add formulas to worksheets. You use these formulas to manipulate information stored in different cells. One of the ways you can manipulate information is to combine the contents of your cells. For instance, let's assume you have a list of last names in column A, a list of first names in column B, and a list of titles (Mr., Ms., Dr., etc.) in column C. If you wanted to derive a full name for these people, you could use the following formula:

=CONCATENATE(C4, " ", B4, " ", A4)

The result of such a formula is that Excel combines the values (the names and titles) from the specified cells and places spaces between them.

If I am remembering my spreadsheet history correctly, the CONCATENATE function was originally included in Excel for compatability with other spreadsheet programs—most notably Lotus 123. Personally, I prefer to use what I've always viewed as the native concatenation operator for Excel, which is the ampersand. Here's how you could write the same concatenation formula mentioned above:

=C4 & " " & B4 & " " & A4

The ampersand character (&) is used to indicate that Excel should "add" text together to create a new text value.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9635) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Combining Cell Contents.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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