Combine Data in Cells Using the CONCATENATE Operator or Functions

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated February 20, 2022

Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2013, 2016, 2019, 2021 and 365 (Windows)

You can combine the data from multiple cells into another cell using the CONCATENATE operator or CONCATENATE functions. CONCATENATE is often used to combine text in cells (like first name and last name) but you can also combine text with numbers, dates, functions, spaces, commas or dashes. If you have Excel 2019 or a later version, you can also use the CONCAT function. It is important to note that combining cells is different from merging cells.

Recommended article: How to Merge Cells in Excel (4 Ways)

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In this article, we'll look at 3 ways to combine cells using CONCATENATE:

  • Using the CONCATENATE operator
  • Using the CONCATENATE function
  • Using the CONCAT function

If you want to combine dashes, commas, spaces or other text in an expression with CONCATENATE, you need to enter it in quotation marks or double quotes (such as " ").

If you want to enter formulas in an Excel table, you can use structured reference formulas which must refer to fields in square brackets []. You would also need to precede the field name with @ to refer to the current record.

Combining cells using the CONCATENATE operator (&)

You can use the CONCATENATE operator (&) to combine cells into one cell using a formula. Using the CONCATENATE operator, you can combine multiple cells and add other text or items in the expression.

In order to use the CONCATENATE operator, you will need to include it the formula each time you want to add something new to the expression.

To combine cells by entering a formula in Excel using the CONCATENATE operator:

  1. Select the cell where you want to insert the combined data.
  2. Type an equal sign (=).
  3. Type the cell reference for the first cell you want to combine or click it.
  4. Type the CONCATENATE operator (&) by pressing Shift + 7 (at the top of the keyboard).
  5. Type the cell reference for the cell you want to combine or click it.
  6. Repeat for other cells or items you want to add. If you want to add text, enter it in quotation marks or double quotes.
  7. Press Enter.

For example, if you wanted to combine the data from cells A2 and B2 (such as first name and last name), you could enter the following formula in C2:

=A2 & B2

If you wanted to add a space between the data, you would enter the following formula in C2:

=A2 &" " &B2

In the following example, we've entered a formula =A2 &" " &B2 in C2 and then copied the formula down to the cells below by dragging the Fill handle on the bottom right corner of the cell:

Combine cells example in Excel using the Concatenate operator.

In the following example, we've entered a formula in C2 in an Excel table and pressed Enter (Excel will populate the table column automatically):

=[@[First Name]] &" " &[@[Last Name]]

In the table example below, the structured reference formula using the CONCATENATE operator is entered in C2 and Excel color codes the references:

Combine cells example in an Excel table using the CONCATENATE operator.

If there are no spaces in the field names, you can enter the following formula in C2 in the table as follows:

=[@FirstName]& " " &[@LastName]

If you are creating structured reference formulas in Excel tables, it's easier if the field names do not include spaces.

Combining cells using the CONCATENATE function

You can also use the CONCATENATE function to combine cells into one cell using a formula. Using the CONCATENATE function, you can combine multiple cells and add other text or items in the expression.

With the CONCATENATE function, you simply include the items you want to combine in the arguments.

The Excel syntax for the CONCATENATE function is:

=CONCATENATE(text1, [text2], …)

The simple syntax for the CONCATENATE function is:

=CONCATENATE(item1, item2, item3, etc.)

Items could be text, spaces, commas, dashes, numbers, dates or other functions.

To combine cells by entering a formula in Excel using the CONCATENATE function:

  1. Select the cell where you want to insert the combined data.
  2. Type an equal sign (=).
  3. Type CONCATENATE and an open round bracket or parentheses (.
  4. Enter the first cell or item you want to combine (such as A2).
  5. Type a comma (,) to separate the arguments.
  6. Enter the next cell or item you want to combine (such as " ").
  7. Type a comma.
  8. Repeat for other cells or items you want to combine. If you want to add text, enter it in quotation marks or double quotes.
  9. Type a closed round bracket or parentheses ).
  10. Press Enter.

For example, if you wanted to combine the data from cells A2 and B2 (such as first name and last name), you could enter the following formula in C2:

=CONCATENATE(A2, B2)

If you wanted to add a space between the data, you could enter the following formula in C2:

=CONCATENATE(A2, " ", B2)

If you wanted to add a comma between the data, you could enter the following formula in C2:

=CONCATENATE(B2, ", ", A2)

In the following example, we've entered a formula in C2 and then copied the formula down to the cells below by dragging the Fill handle on the bottom right corner of the cell:

=CONCATENATE(A2, ", ", B2)

In the example below, the structured reference formula using the CONCATENATE function is entered in C2 and Excel color codes the references:

Combine cells example in Excel using the CONCATENATE function.

In the following example, we've entered a formula in C2 in an Excel table and pressed Enter (Excel will populate the table column automatically):

=CONCATENATE([@[First Name]], " ", [@[Last Name]])

In the table example below, the structured reference formula using the CONCATENATE function is entered in C2 and Excel color codes the references:

Combine cells example in an Excel table using the CONCATENATE function.

In there are no spaces in the field names, you can enter the formula in C2 in the table as follows:

=CONCATENATE([@FirstName], " " , [@LastName])

Combining cells using the CONCAT function

If you have Excel 2019 or a later version, you can also use the CONCAT function to combine cells. This function allows you to quickly combine two or more text strings together including a range of cells (such product codes).

You can use the CONCAT function to combine cells in another cell using a formula. Using the CONCAT function, you can combine multiple cells and add other text or items in the expression.

The Excel syntax for the CONCAT function is:

=CONCAT(text1, [text2, … text_n], …)

The simple syntax for the CONCAT function is:

=CONCAT(item1, item2, item3, etc.) or =CONCAT(item1:itemN)

Items could be text, spaces, commas, dashes, numbers, dates or other functions.

In many cases, the CONCAT function behaves the same way as the CONCATENATE function. However, you can use ranges of cells with the CONCAT function.

For example:

=CONCAT(A2:C2)

To combine cells by entering a formula in Excel using the CONCAT function:

  1. Select the cell where you want to insert the combined data.
  2. Type an equal sign (=).
  3. Type CONCAT and an open round bracket or parentheses (.
  4. Enter the first cell or item you want to combine (such as A2). Alternatively, you can enter a range of cells (such as A2:C2).
  5. Type a comma (,) to separate the arguments.
  6. Enter the next cell or item you want to combine (such as " ").
  7. Type a comma.
  8. Repeat for other cells or items you want to combine. If you want to add text, enter it in quotation marks or double quotes.
  9. Type a closed round bracket or parentheses ).
  10. Press Enter.

For example, if you wanted to combine the data from cells A2 to C2 (such as color, styles and category), you could enter the following formula in D2:

=CONCAT(A2:C2)

If you wanted to add a dash between the data, you could enter the following formula in D2:

=CONCAT(A2, "-", B2, "-", C2)

In the following table example, we've entered a formula =CONCAT(A2, " ", B2) in C2:

Combine cells example in Excel usign the CONCAT function.

In the following table example, we've entered a formula =CONCAT(A2:C2) in D2:

Combine cells in Excel example with the CONCAT function and a range of cells.

In the following example, we've entered a formula in C2 in an Excel table pressed Enter (Excel will populate the table column automatically):

=CONCAT([@[First Name]], " ", [@[Last Name]])

In the table example below, the structured reference formula using the CONCAT function is entered in C2 and Excel color codes the references:

Combine cells in an Excel table example using the CONCAT function.

If there are no spaces in the field names, you can enter the formula in C2 in the table as follows:

=CONCAT([@FirstName],  " ", [@LastName])

You can combine the CONCATENATE operator and functions with other functions such as TRIM and UPPER.

There are also others ways to combine data including using Flash Fill and the TEXTJOIN function.

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Summary
How to Combine Cells in Excel Using Concatenate (3 Ways)
Article Name
How to Combine Cells in Excel Using Concatenate (3 Ways)
Description
You can combine the data from multiple cells into another cell using the CONCATENATE operator or CONCATENATE functions. CONCATENATE is often used to combine text in cells (like first name and last name) but you can also combine text with numbers, dates, functions, spaces, commas or dashes. If you have Excel 2019 or a later version, you can also use the CONCAT function. It is important to note that combining cells is different from merging cells.
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Publisher Name
Avantix Learning

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