Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Merge and Center Not Available.

Merge and Center Not Available

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 29, 2020)


Paul has a worksheet in which he wants to apply Merge and Center to a selection. However, the tool is continually grayed out on his worksheet and Paul can't figure out why. He wonders if there is some combination of formats or settings that disables the tool.

Actually, there are two conditions that can cause the Merge and Center tool to be unavailable. You should check, first, to see if your worksheet is protected. Second, you should check to see if the workbook is shared. Both protection and sharing have been discussed in other issues of ExcelTips, and both of them happen to disable Merge and Center. (Actually, they disable a lot of other commands in addition to Merge and Center.)

If you turn off sharing (if it is on) and disable protection (if the worksheet is protected), then the tool should once again be available.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11845) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Merge and Center Not Available.

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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What is 2 + 4?

2021-03-15 22:03:18

Ayang Rosima

1. Go to Review Toolbar
2. Select share Workbook
3. In editing, uncheck the box stating:
"Allow changes by more than one user at the same time. This allows workbook merging."

2021-02-08 12:37:01


This is not helpful. This is a very minute sample size of what it could possibly be, compared to the vast majority of the time it probably being something outside of these two "issues" listed.

2020-10-24 15:34:34

John Mann

I mistyped at the begining of my previous comment. What I actually use - and added to the QAT is "Centre Across Selection" which is available on the ribbon in Excel 2010, but somewhat buried. I NEVER use the obvious tool of "Merge and Centre Accross selection - that's a real trouble-maker.

2020-10-24 15:16:34

John Mann

I use the "Merge and Centre across Selection" tool often enough that I've added it to my QAT. I couldn't find the command any where in the very long list of "All Commands" so I recorded a short macro which is kept in my personal workbook and run it from a button on the QAT.

I've never been able to imagine any situation where I would want to merge cells in a spreadsheet - no matter how far fetched the scenario. When I DuckDuck (rather than Google) the question "why would I merge cells in Excel" I get lots of results on why not, and NONE on why I might do it.

2020-06-06 06:01:46

Col Delane

No prob's Zvi. That's the beauty and ugliness of Excel - there are more tools & features than you can ever learn or know about!

I'm from the same era: Learned 123 in 1984/85 from a 5.25" floppy tutorial, & Multiplan, then progressed thru Symphony, Supercalc, back to 123, and then Excel 4 & 5 in 1995 - and have never looked back!

Here's my tip to new & old learners. When you get a spare 10-20 minutes (e.g. lunch hour):
1. open the Customize Quick Access Toolbar window and just scroll through the list of commands available (Note: some are only available thru customisation as they are not on the inbuilt menu!) and see what each tool does and whether it may be useful to you. If so, add it to your QAT and try it out.
2. Similarly, open the Function Wizard window and check out the functions available (made easier bc you can do so by category). You can't add these to any favourites list but you can make your own "Check these out" list

Knowledge is power - if you don't know what's available you can miss an opportunity or spend hours trying to jury-rig a solution by cobbling together other functions.

2020-06-05 05:20:37


Thanks Col Delane.
I have been an Excel user close to forever (I still remember Lotus 123 and Symphony) and never heard of the Center Across Selection option.
It really is MUCH better than Merge and Center.

2020-05-29 07:44:05

Mark Watson

Second what Col Delane said!!!

2020-05-29 03:28:36

Col Delane

The consensus among almost all advanced users of Excel is that the Merge & Center tool should be removed from the application as it causes far too many problems and there are better ways to achieve the desired format (e.g. Center Across Selection)

I'd encourage you NOT to use M&C.

2017-07-14 15:29:49


Also you could need to convert table to a range by selecting the table, and then on the design tab, in the tools group, click Convert to Range. That was the problem with my table. Hope that helps!

2017-02-28 11:22:48


You can also click on "Tables' on the tool bar and then on the far right click on "Convert to Range" That's what worked for me.

2016-12-04 06:35:41


I have MS Excel 2013 and the align options have always been available. Suddenly, they are grayed out on ALL my excel files, past and newly created. None are shared, none are tracked. I've tried every fix I can find and repeatedly these are the main 'fixes' recommended. But none of these apply.

Any other recommendations?

Sincerely - Ashley

2016-10-25 14:10:50


Convert to range worked for me since I had the Format as Table active.

2016-05-12 11:28:11


Convert to range. It is most likely that you have formatted your sheet as a table which activates the design lay out. Go into design layout, in 2010, go to the tools bar in top left corner, and convert to range....all done

2016-04-23 06:02:00

Willy Vanhaelen

You also cannot merge cells in a table.

2016-04-22 05:52:50


Spreadsheet not protected and not shared, but still can't merge cells (option permanently greyed out)

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