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Joining text in cells with concatenation

From: Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training

Video: Joining text in cells with concatenation

Many times when you use Excel, you'll have to draw information from more than one cell to get the result you want. That's no problem when you want to add numbers together; you can just use a formula. But what if you want to combine several text values? For example, suppose you have a customer's first name and last name, but you need to combine it into a single cell, so that both the first name and last name are there. Other than cutting and pasting or re-typing, you can use a process called concatenation. Concatenation simply means adding one set of characters onto another. If I were to do it by hand, let's say with the name John Smith, I could just type in 'John Smith,' press Return, and I'd have the name.

Joining text in cells with concatenation

Many times when you use Excel, you'll have to draw information from more than one cell to get the result you want. That's no problem when you want to add numbers together; you can just use a formula. But what if you want to combine several text values? For example, suppose you have a customer's first name and last name, but you need to combine it into a single cell, so that both the first name and last name are there. Other than cutting and pasting or re-typing, you can use a process called concatenation. Concatenation simply means adding one set of characters onto another. If I were to do it by hand, let's say with the name John Smith, I could just type in 'John Smith,' press Return, and I'd have the name.

But let's say that I want to create a formula that will add the value from A4 to the value in B4 to create the name for me. If I want to do that, I can type an Equal sign to start creating the formula, and then there are two ways to do it, and I'll show you both of those in this movie. The first one is to use the concatenate function. So type in 'con,' and concatenate is first on the list. I'll press the down arrow to select it in the formula Auto Complete list. Press Tab, and I get the entire function, plus a set of open and close parentheses.

Now I can type in references for the text that I want to include. In this case, it's John Smith. John, the first name, is in cell A4. Then I type a comma. But now if I were to type B4, the reference that contains the value Smith, it would be John Smith, and there would be no space, as is traditional when you write names. That means that I need to add a space, and here's how you do it. First, you type a double quote, then you type the space, and then you close it with another double quote, and then a comma. What you just did was tell Excel that I want the literal string of a space to come after whatever value is in cell A4.

Then you can type in the reference to sell B4, which contains the last name. Everything looks good, press Return, and I've got the name. You can also do the same thing using numbers and combine those with text, or with other numerical values. So let's say, for example, that I want to have the address 602 Bainbridge Street in the same cell. I can do that by creating equal, and here's where I'll show the second technique for concatenating values. Rather than to type out concatenate the whole way, you can use a formula such as this.

So we have E4, which is the cell that contains the first value, and then you can type an ampersand, or the and sign, a space, and again, this is a literal string. I have a double quote, a space inside of it, and then a double quote mark again, ampersand, and then F4. When I hit Return, Excel creates that value. I'll create one last example here. So to create this address on a single line, type = A10, ampersand, and then double quotes, a comma, so that I have the comma after Portland and then a space before OR again.

So I'll type comma, space, close the quotes, ampersand, B10, ampersand, space - again, as a literal string, so the state and the postal code don't run together - ampersand and C10. Hit Return, and there you have the entire last line of the US address. So when would you use the concatenate function, and when would you use the ampersand? Well, it's a matter of personal preference.

Frankly, it comes down to that. That's why I showed you both. It seems to be about an equal split and people I talk to. I personally prefer to use the ampersand. The problem is that when you use a bunch of ampersands, and you have all these other spaces, it can take up a lot of space on your formula bar, and after a while it can be tough to track exactly what's going on inside the formula. If you're concatenating a lot of values, you might find it easier to use the concatenate function. So play around with both, see which one you like better, and use that one in the future.

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This video is part of

Image for Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training
Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training

100 video lessons · 31204 viewers

Curt Frye
Author

 
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  1. 1m 58s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Using the exercise files
      42s
  2. 20m 56s
    1. Exploring the Excel 2011 window
      4m 16s
    2. Introducing the Ribbon for Mac
      4m 44s
    3. Customizing the Ribbon
      4m 20s
    4. Setting program preferences
      3m 20s
    5. Getting help in Excel
      4m 16s
  3. 20m 4s
    1. Opening, creating, and saving workbooks
      5m 23s
    2. Setting workbook properties
      4m 14s
    3. Creating and modifying workbook templates
      4m 18s
    4. Managing workbooks across multiple versions of Excel
      6m 9s
  4. 1h 2m
    1. Selecting cells and groups of cells
      4m 58s
    2. Copying and pasting cell data
      2m 39s
    3. Entering data using AutoFill and other techniques
      4m 32s
    4. Inserting symbols and special characters
      5m 3s
    5. Creating an Excel table
      4m 43s
    6. Locating and changing data using Find and Replace
      4m 57s
    7. Restricting input using validation rules
      4m 42s
    8. Using lists to limit data entered into a cell
      2m 32s
    9. Sorting worksheet data
      3m 2s
    10. Creating a custom sort order
      3m 54s
    11. Filtering worksheet data
      4m 6s
    12. Inserting, moving, and deleting cells and cell ranges
      3m 50s
    13. Splitting and freezing rows and columns
      3m 51s
    14. Managing worksheets
      5m 28s
    15. Creating, editing, and deleting headers and footers
      4m 41s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Introducing Excel formulas and functions
      3m 17s
    2. Adding a formula to a cell
      4m 0s
    3. Introducing arithmetic operators
      4m 13s
    4. Using absolute and relative cell references
      6m 29s
    5. Controlling how Excel copies and pastes formulas
      6m 5s
    6. Referring to Excel table data in formulas
      2m 3s
    7. Creating an AutoSum formula
      3m 22s
    8. Summarizing data on the status bar
      2m 22s
    9. Joining text in cells with concatenation
      3m 59s
    10. Summarizing data using an IF function
      6m 21s
    11. Summarizing data using SUMIF and other conditional functions
      5m 41s
    12. Creating formulas to count cells
      2m 37s
    13. Rounding cell values up and down
      4m 55s
    14. Finding data using VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP
      6m 33s
    15. Auditing formulas by identifying precedents and dependents
      3m 25s
    16. Managing Excel formula error indicators
      4m 42s
    17. Managing scenarios
      4m 59s
    18. Performing Goal Seek analysis
      2m 31s
  6. 45m 48s
    1. Applying fonts, background colors, and borders
      6m 7s
    2. Applying number and date formats to cells
      7m 1s
    3. Managing text alignment
      3m 56s
    4. Copying cell formats
      4m 2s
    5. Managing cell styles
      3m 16s
    6. Managing Office themes
      3m 31s
    7. Creating rule-based conditional formats
      3m 54s
    8. Defining Top 10 conditional formats
      4m 19s
    9. Defining data bar, color scale, and icon set conditional formats
      6m 6s
    10. Editing, ordering, and deleting conditional formats
      3m 36s
  7. 36m 55s
    1. Creating bar and column charts
      5m 26s
    2. Creating pie charts
      2m 32s
    3. Creating line charts
      4m 34s
    4. Creating XY (scatter) charts
      1m 49s
    5. Creating stock charts
      4m 11s
    6. Changing chart types and layouts
      2m 22s
    7. Changing the appearance of a chart
      4m 25s
    8. Managing chart axes and numbering
      2m 51s
    9. Adding trendlines to charts
      4m 14s
    10. Creating sparkline charts
      4m 31s
  8. 18m 39s
    1. Importing data from comma separated value (CSV) or text files
      4m 20s
    2. Connecting to an external data source
      2m 22s
    3. Using hyperlinks
      6m 1s
    4. Including an Excel workbook in another Office document
      3m 5s
    5. Linking to an Excel chart from another Office program
      2m 51s
  9. 26m 21s
    1. Creating and formatting shapes
      3m 10s
    2. Adding and adjusting images
      5m 38s
    3. Cropping, compressing, and removing image backgrounds
      4m 46s
    4. Creating SmartArt graphics
      5m 7s
    5. Creating WordArt
      2m 34s
    6. Aligning and layering objects
      5m 6s
  10. 29m 51s
    1. Introducing PivotTable reports
      3m 47s
    2. Creating a PivotTable report
      4m 37s
    3. Pivoting a PivotTable report
      3m 18s
    4. Managing subtotals and grand totals
      3m 23s
    5. Summarizing more than one data field
      1m 34s
    6. Changing the data field summary operation
      2m 40s
    7. Changing the data field number format
      2m 27s
    8. Filtering a PivotTable report
      2m 46s
    9. Applying a PivotTable style
      2m 20s
    10. Creating and editing styles
      2m 59s
  11. 26m 47s
    1. Checking spelling
      3m 32s
    2. Setting AutoCorrect and automatic Replace options
      3m 59s
    3. Managing workbook comments
      3m 40s
    4. Tracking and reviewing changes
      5m 12s
    5. Printing a worksheet or workbook
      3m 44s
    6. Setting and removing print areas
      2m 31s
    7. Exporting to other formats
      1m 33s
    8. Protecting a workbook
      2m 36s
  12. 23m 52s
    1. Running an existing macro
      4m 56s
    2. Recording a macro
      3m 56s
    3. Recording a macro using relative references
      6m 15s
    4. Renaming, viewing, and deleting macros
      2m 58s
    5. Adding comments to a macro
      2m 43s
    6. Turning off screen updating in a macro
      3m 4s
  13. 1m 1s
    1. Additional resources
      1m 1s

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