How to Merge and Unmerge Cells in Excel

Make merging and unmerging cells easy

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Merging cells in Excel allows you to create a larger cell that can be seen across multiple rows and columns. This function is very useful when you need to create a text box or a larger area for presenting your data. However, you may also need to unmerge your cells to change the design of your spreadsheet or perform certain data functions. Fortunately, you can both both merge and unmerge cells in Excel easily and with a few simple steps.

The instructions in this article apply to Microsoft Excel 2019, 2016, and Excel in Office 365.

How to Unmerge Cells in Excel

There are three separate methods for unmerging cells in Microsoft Excel. These methods are using the Excel Ribbon, using the Merge Cells menu, and making use of keyboard shortcuts. Each method is simple to use and makes formatting cells easy to do.

When you merge cells, only the upper-left cell of your select range of cells will have its content placed in the new cell. All other data in additional cells that are merged will be deleted after the merge. So, if there is data in those cells you want to keep, you should copy it to a new location before creating the cell merge.

How to Use the Excel Ribbon to Unmerge Cells

In Microsoft Excel, the Ribbon is where you'll find most of the commands that you use. Using the commands on this ribbon, you can easily unmerge cells anywhere in an Excel spreadsheet.

  1. Select the cells you want to unmerge.

  2. Select Home.

    Mege Cells Through Home Tab
  3. Go to the Alignment section and select the Merge and Center down arrow.

    Merge & Center
  4. Select Unmerge Cells.

    The Unmerge Cells option in Microsoft Excel.

A fast way to merge or unmerge cells using the Merge & Center option is to select the cells you want to merge, or that are already merged, and select Merge & Center. If the highlighted cells are not merged, they will be. If they are merged, the cells will be unmerged.

How to Use the Format Menu to Unmerge Cells

The format menu in Excel controls many options for the way numbers and text appear in your spreadsheet. You can use this menu to control how you merge and unmerge cells, too.

  1. Highlight the cells you want to unmerge.

  2. Right-click over the selected cells and select Format Cells.

    The right-click, Format Cells option in Excel.
  3. Select Alignment.

    Format Cells Menu
  4. Deselect the Merge Cells option. The selected cells will be unmerged.

    Alignment Tab

How to Use Keyboard Shortcuts to Unmerge Cells

If you prefer to use keyboard shortcuts in Excel, you're in luck, because you can merge and unmerge cells using a combination of keyboard shortcuts.

  1. Select the cells you want to merge.

  2. Press the Alt key on the keyboard to reveal shortcuts.

    Shortcut Keys
  3. Tap the H key to access the Home ribbon.

    Home Shortcut
  4. Press the M key to open the Merge Cells menu.

    Merge Shortcut
  5. Press the U key to Unmerge the cells.

How to Find Merged Cells in Excel

Depending on the size of your spreadsheet, you may have difficulty locating merged cells when you need to unmerge them. For example, any column or row with a merged cell will make it difficult for you to select a range of cells or filter and sort the data they contain. In order to find merged cells with ease, follow these simple steps.

  1. From the Home tab, select Find & Select > Find.

    The Find option in the Find & Select menu of Microsoft Excel.
  2. In the Find and Replace dialog box that opens, select Options.

    Find and Replace
  3. The Find and Replace dialog box expands. Select the Format drop-down menu, then select Format.

    The Format option in the Find and Replace menu in Excel.
  4. Select Alignment > Merge Cells > OK.

    Find Format
  5. Select Find All to view all of the merged cells in your spreadsheet.

  6. You can select each item in the list in order to select each merged cell. Once selected, you can unmerge each cell as needed.