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How to merge rows in Excel without losing data

ablebits.com/office-addins-blog/2014/02/06/merge-rows-excel

February 6, 2014

Merging rows in Excel is one of the most common tasks that all of us need to perform
every now and then. The problem is that Microsoft Excel does not provide any decent tool
to do this. For example, if you try to combine two or more rows in your worksheet using the
Merge & Center button (Home tab > Alignment group), all you'll get is the following error
message:

"The selection contains multiple data values. Merging into one cell will keep the upper-left
most data only."

If you click OK, the merged cells will contain only the value of the top-left cell, all other data
will be gone. So, obviously we need to come up with some other solution. And further on
this this article you will find several methods that will let you merge multiple rows in Excel
without losing any data.

The task: you have a customer database where each row contains certain details such as the
product name, product key, customer name and so on. What we want is to combine all the
rows related to a particular order, so that the result would look similar to this:

When it comes to merging Excel rows, there are two ways to achieve the desired result:

Merge Excel rows using a formula


Combine multiple rows using the Merge Cells add-in
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How to merge multiple rows using Excel formulas
Microsoft Excel provides several formulas that can help you combine data from different
rows. Probably the easiest one to use the CONCATENATE function. Here are a few
examples to concatenate several rows into one:

Merge rows and separate the values with comma: =CONCATENATE(A1,", ",A2,",
",A3)
Merge rows with spaces between the data: =CONCATENATE(A1," ",A2," ",A3)
Combine rows without spaces between the values: =CONCATENATE(A1,A2,A3)

I believe you have already deduced the general rule to write such a formula - simply enter all
cells to be merged separated with commas, and then type the separator in between, e.g. ", "
is a comma with a space; " " is only a space.

So, let's see how the CONCATENATE formula will work on the real data.

1. Select an empty cell on the sheet and enter the formula into it. We have 9 rows of
data, so the formula is going to be pretty large: =CONCATENATE(A1,", ",A2,",
",A3,", ",A4,", ",A5,", ",A6,", ",A7,", ",A8)
2. Copy the formula across all other cells in the row, the result should look similar to
this:

3. Now you have several rows of data merged into one row. But your combined rows
are, in fact, formulas and if you want to convert them to values, you can simply copy
/ paste the merged rows to some other row in your spreadsheet. The following
tutorial explains how to do this in detail: How to replace formulas with their values in
Excel.

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How to combine rows in Excel using the Merge Cells add-in
The Merge Cells add-in is purposed for combining various types of cells in Excel. It merges
individual cells as well as combines data from entire rows or columns. This is how the
Merge Cells button looks like on the Excel Ribbon:

To merge two or more rows in your table, proceed


with the following 4 steps:

1. Select the rows you want to merge and click on


the Merge Cells icon.
2. The Merge Cells dialog window will open with
your table or range already selected, as you
can see in the screenshot below. In the upper part of the window, you specify three
basic things:
How you want to join cells . To merge rows of data, select " column by column".
How to separate the merged values . There is an array of standard separators to
choose from: comma, space, semicolon and even line break! If you want to use
some other separator, merely type it directly in this field.
Where to place the merged cells . This can be either the top cell or bottom cell.

3. Now let's have a quick look


at the lower part of the
window to see if you need
any aditional options:
Clear the content of
selected cells. Select
it if you want the data
to remain in the
merged cells only.
Merge all areas in the
selection. This option
will let you merge
rows in two or more
non-adjacent ranges.
Skip empty cells and
Wrap text. These two
are self-explanatory,
aren't they?
And finally, you see the " Create a backup copy of the worksheet " option,
checked by default. This is just a precaution that will keep you on the safe side
and ensure that you won't lose your data in any case.

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4. Now let us click the Merge
button and see what we get
as a result - perfectly
merged rows of data
separated with line breaks!

You can download a fully-functional trial version of Merge Cells addin now, try it on your
own data and see if it's the right tool for you. The add-in works with all versions of Excel
2016, 2013, 2010 and 2007.

How to combine duplicate rows into one (keeping unique


values only)
The task: you have some Excel database with a few thousand entries. A bunch of values in
one of the columns are essentially the same while data in other columns are different. What
you'd like to have is combine data from duplicate rows based on a certain column, making it
a comma separated list. Additionally, you may want to merge unique values only, omitting
duplicates and skipping empty cells.

The screenshot below illustrates what we are trying to achieve.

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Finding and merging duplicate rows in Excel may be a real nightmare and obviously
everyone would like to avoid doing this work manually. In this case, another add-in,
Combine Rows Wizard, may come in truly handy.

As I've said, combining duplicate rows in Excel


seems to be a pretty tricky task, but the Combine
Rows Wizard will walk you through the process
making it really simple. And again, you'll need just 4
quick steps:

1. Select the duplicate rows you want to merge


and click the Combine Rows Wizard icon on the ribbon. Make sure the " Create a
backup copy" option is checked, especially if you are using this add-in for the first
time.

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2. Select the key column. In our example, we're selecting the "Customer" column (A)
because we want to combine rows based on customer name. If you want to skip
empty cells, be sure to select this option in the upper-right corner and click Next.

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3. Choose the columns to merge . On this step you select the columns whose data that
you want to combine and specify the delimiter: semicolon, comma, space, line break
or any other character(s) of your choosing. Two additional options in the upper part
of the window let you:
Delete duplicate values while combining the rows, and
Skip empty cells.

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4. Click the Finish button and you'll see the result in a moment.

That was pretty easy, isn't it? To


make sure of this, go ahead and
download the trial version of
Combine Rows add-in. You can
use it with any version of Excel
2016, 2013, 2010 and 2007.

Repeatedly merge blocks of rows into one row


The task: you have an Excel file with information about the recent orders and each order
takes 3 lines: product name, customer name and date of purchase. What you need is to
merge every three rows into one, i.e. repeatedly merge the blocks of three rows in an Excel
sheet.

This is what we are looking for:

If you have a fairly few entries to be combined, you can select each 3 rows and merge each
block individually using the Merge Cells Wizard as we discussed in How to merge Excel
rows without losing data. But if you have hundreds and thousands of records in your
database, this is definitely not a very elegant solution. There is a quicker way to achieve the
needed result:

1. Create an additional column in your worksheet; it is column C in our example. Let's


name it Block Id, or maybe you can come up with a more meaningful name : )
2. Write the following formula to the 2nd cell of that column (C2) because most likely
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your table has headers: =INT((ROW(C2)-2)/3) . And then copy it across the entire
column.
Now, what does this formula actually do? It adds a unique number to each block of
rows to be merged, as shown in the screenshot:

In more detail, the INT function in Excel is used to round a number downwards to the
next lowest integer. (C2)-2 deducts the row number where your data start, for the
formula to start counting from zero. For example, our data start from the 2nd row, so
we deduct 2.If your data (actual data, not table headers) start, say, from row 5 and
you enter the formula in cell D5, then you put (D5)-5. And finally, we divide by the
number of rows to be merged in each block (since we are combining the blocks of
three rows, we add /3 at the end of the formula). Phew, I do hope my explanation
makes sense. If not, don't hesitate to ask in comments and I'll try to come up with
something easier to comprehend : )

3. Well, the previous step actually did the main part of the work. Now you just need to
merge the rows based on column Block Id using the Combine Rows Wizard, exactly in
the same way as we did in the previous example when combining duplicate rows.

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And here's what we have as the result:

4. Delete the Block ID column since you don't need it any longer and you are done!
Funny enough, that we've needed 4 steps again, like in two previous examples : )

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Merge matching rows from 2 Excel worksheets without
copying / pasting
Task: you need to merge rows from 2 tables based on a common column. The tables may be
located in the same sheet, in two different spreadsheets or even in two different workbooks.
For example, you have sales reports for January and February in two different worksheets
and you want to combine them into one.

Mind you, each workbook may have a different number of records and different order of
product names, so you cannot simply copy and paste the "Feb Sales" column to the first
workbook because the products won't match.

Another add-in from AbleBits will work a treat in this case - Merge Tables Wizard. This tool
will find, match and merge rows from two Excel worksheets in seconds, no matter how
many rows each spreadsheet contains. The design of the wizard is pretty much similar to
the Combine Rows Wizard we've used in two previous examples, so it should already look
familiar to you : ) Okay, to combine matching rows from 2 spreadsheets, do as follows:

1. Select the 1st table, this is the main table that you want to update, and click the
Merge Tables button on the Ribbon (Ablebits Data > Merge).

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This will open the Merge Tables Wizard's dialog with your first table already selected,
so simply click Next.

2. Select the second worksheet, i.e. a lookup table where you want to search for
matching rows.

3. Choose the column with unique values that exists in both tables, it will be used as a
unique identifier. It our example, it can be either Product Name or Product ID, or both.

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You can also click the Auto Detect button at the bottom left-hand corner and the
wizard will find the key column(s) automatically.

4. Choose which column(s) you want to update and which add to the end of the 1 st
table. Since we want to add only the "Feb sales" column, let's select it and click Next.

5. On the next step, the Merge Tables Wizard provides a few additional options, such
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as:
Add non-matching rows to the end of the table
Update only empty cells in the main table
Highlight updated rows in a color of your choosing
Actually, there are some more options, as you can see in the screenshot below:

If you don't need any of these options for now, you can skip this step and click the
Finish button.

However, if your second worksheet may contain some rows that do not exist in the
first spreadsheet and you do want to add them, select Add non-matching rows to the
end of the table.

Now click Finish, wait for a couple of seconds and as the result you have all matching rows
from two Excel worksheets merged into a single table:

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If you are interested to try the Merge Tables Wizard, go ahead and download a trial version
here. As well as the two previous tools, it support Microsoft Excel 2016 - 2007.

How do I get these merging tools for Excel?


First off, you can download 15-day fully-functional trial versions to make sure the add-ins
really suite your needs, here is the download page.

If you like any of the merging tools described in this article, you have several options to get
them:

1. Buy any of the add-ins as a separate product using the order page.
2. Get 3 merging tools in a bundle and safe over 25% off their individual prices. In other
words, you pay only for 2 add-ins and get a 3rd one for free! The bundle includes
Merge Cells, Combine Rows Wizard and Merge Table Wizard, and here's the order
form.
3. Have these 3 merging add-ins + 60 more tools as part of Ultimate Suite for Excel.
Note: This is a really important note, don't disregard it : ) Before you proceed to the
order page, be sure to copy the coupon code that we provide especially for our blog
readers: AB14-BlogSpo. It will give you an additional 15% discount on any Ablebits
product.

Hopefully, now you can merge rows in your Excel sheets exactly as you want them. If you
are looking for something different and have not found the solution in this article, just leave
a comment and we will try to figure out a way together. Thank you for reading!

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