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.
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.