To merge or not to merge? That is the question. And it’s a questions which divides the Excel community. We find the Merge & Center button is on the Ribbon, so it appears to be the only option. But soon we are greeted by these types of annoying error messages:
Excel has a secret alternative option called Center Across Selection, which once you’ve found it, you’ll never return to merging cells again.
Visually the two options look very similar
Functionally they are very different, the lack of annoying error messages for starters.
Do you know the fastest way to learn foreign languages? It is to read, write, speak, and think in that language as often as possible. Apart from speaking, programming languages are no different. The more you immerse yourself in that language, the faster you will pick it up.
Therefore, what most people like you need is lots of examples that you can practice. That is why the 100 Excel VBA Macros eBook exists. It’s the book for all Excel users who want to learn how to read and write Excel macros, save time, and stand out from their peers. The book contains:
- 100 example codes to practice reading and writing macros that will embed the language into your thinking.
- An introduction to macros in Excel to ensure you can implement the VBA code in the book even if you have no prior knowledge.
- Consistent code layout between examples to enable you to understand the structure and easily customize the code to meet your needs.
- Downloadable workbook containing all the source code, so the examples can be added to your project to give you the benefit of VBA straight away.
Applying center across selection manually
Center Across Selection is available form the Format Cells window.
Select the cells you wish to center across, click Home -> Alignment Settings.
The Format Cells window will open. On the Alignment tab. From the Horizontal drop-down select Center Across Selection.
Finally, click OK to close the window.
What happens if you already have a workbook with lots of merged cells? Are you really going to go through cell by cell to change them all? Thankfully, you don’t have to, I have written a macro which will do the conversion for you 🙂
Convert all Merged cells to Center Across Selection
As you might be using this macro a lot, I suggest you add it to your Personal Macrobook for fast access.
Sub ConvertMergedCellsToCenterAcross() Dim c As Range Dim mergedRange As Range 'Check active sheet is a worksheet If TypeName(ActiveSheet) <> "Worksheet" Then Exit Sub 'Loop through all cells in Used range For Each c In ActiveSheet.UsedRange 'If merged and single row If c.MergeCells = True And c.MergeArea.Rows.Count = 1 Then 'Set variable for the merged range Set mergedRange = c.MergeArea 'Unmerge the cell and apply Centre Across Selection mergedRange.UnMerge mergedRange.HorizontalAlignment = xlCenterAcrossSelection End If Next End Sub
Center Across Selection does not work across rows, it only centers across columns. We want to maintain the integrity of the spreadsheet, therefore, this macro has been specifically designed to not remove any merged cells which cover more than one row. To select all the remaning merged cell you can follow the code in my VBA to select merged cells post.
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If you’ve found this post useful, or if you have a better approach, then please leave a comment below.
Do you need help adapting this to your needs?
I’m guessing the examples in this post didn’t exactly meet your situation. We all use Excel differently, so it’s impossible to write a post that will meet everybody’s needs. By taking the time to understand the techniques and principles in this post (and elsewhere on this site) you should be able to adapt it to your needs.
But, if you’re still struggling you should:
- Read other blogs, or watch YouTube videos on the same topic. You will benefit much more by discovering your own solutions.
- Ask the ‘Excel Ninja’ in your office. It’s amazing what things other people know.
- Ask a question in a forum like Mr Excel, or the Microsoft Answers Community. Remember, the people on these forums are generally giving their time for free. So take care to craft your question, make sure it’s clear and concise. List all the things you’ve tried, and provide screenshots, code segments and example workbooks.
- Use Excel Rescue, who are my consultancy partner. They help by providing solutions to smaller Excel problems.
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