Saturday, February 25, 2017

How to merge or combine cells in Google Documents

Quick post:

Lets say you have two columns in a Google  Sheets

First Name | Last Name

And you want to combine them. 

if you use the merge cells tool, it's going to remove one of the columns.

Looking online, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to merge them,

so we must get a little creative!

First: Copy the two (or more) columns you want to merge, to their own google sheet, we'll call the temporary sheet.

Second: Save a copy of the temporary sheet to your computer (file, "download as").
 Ensure you're saving it as a Comma Seperated Value, or CSV

Third, Open the CSV in notepad. Notepad is built into windows and should open CSV by default.

You'll notice the top header is your first two columns, and then each row is on it's own line.

Fourth: Go to the "Edit" menu in notepad, and choose "Replace"

Fifth: in the "find" field, type a singular comma, and in the replace field, type a singular space, and hit, find replace all.

Sixth: rename the top row, in notepad, which in our example would say "first name last name" after completing these steps and simply change it to what you want it to be, for instance "full name" 

Seventh: Exit notepad, Saving

Eighth: Go back to google sheets, and create a new one, tell it to open from your computer, the CSV which you just saved

Nineth: That successful, Sheets should now show one column the way you want, copy it

Tenth: Go back to the original sheet and paste the data. This likely means you'll need to select the original columns which you merged, delete them, add an additional column, and then paste the data you made there.

Said otherwise: Delete the "first name" "last name" columns (hold control and click on the very top of them to highlight. Right click, "delete columns".)
Then, right click where the new column will go, "insert"
Then, paste the completed data from your temporary spreedsheet.

This sounds complicated but it could take less than a minute to do, and could likely be automated.

These steps though make me wonder if I'm missing something from google sheets. Regardless, using this method I was able to complete my task more quickly than had I researched a built-in method.

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