Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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 August 13, 2022)

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 at least three 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.

The third potential cause is if the cells you've selected are in a table, instead of a range of cells. If the cells are part of a formatted table (the Format as Table tool, on the Home tab of the ribbon was used), then you cannot merge cells within the table. The only solution in this case is to convert the table to a range, and then you can once again access the tool.

In many instances, your best bet is to simply not use the Merge and Center tool. Instead, check to see if Center Across Selection will do the trick for you. Many Excel users (and most longtime Excel users) consider Center Across Selection to be far superior to Merge and Center. You can use this setting by selecting the cells you want to center across and then using the Horizontal drop-down list on the Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11845) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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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