How To Merge Data In Excel

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Excel is a powerful tool for organizing and analyzing data, but sometimes you may find yourself needing to combine multiple sets of data into a single spreadsheet. This process, known as merging data in Excel, can be incredibly useful for creating reports, conducting analysis, or simply streamlining your workflow.

In this article, we will explore various methods and techniques to merge data in Excel. Whether you have data in multiple sheets, workbooks, or even different file formats, we will guide you through the steps to bring all your data together effortlessly. By the end of this article, you will have a solid understanding of how to merge data in Excel, enabling you to save time, improve accuracy, and unlock the full potential of your data analysis. So let’s dive in and learn these invaluable skills!

Inside This Article

  1. Understanding Data Merging
  2. Different Methods of Data Merging in Excel
  3. Using the VLOOKUP Function
  4. Using the INDEX and MATCH Functions
  5. Using Power Query to Merge Data
  6. Tips for Successful Data Merging in Excel
  7. Conclusion
  8. FAQs

Understanding Data Merging

Data merging is a process in Excel where you combine information from multiple sources into one cohesive dataset. This can be extremely useful when you have data scattered in different worksheets or files, and you want to consolidate it for easier analysis and reporting.

In data merging, you typically have a common field or key that acts as a reference point for combining the data. This field serves as a link between the different sources and helps Excel determine how the data should be merged.

For example, let’s say you have one worksheet containing a list of customers with their contact information, and another worksheet contains the sales data for those customers. By merging the two datasets using the common field of customer ID, you can create a single dataset that includes both the customer details and their corresponding sales data.

Data merging in Excel allows you to bring together related information from different sources and create a comprehensive view of your data. By consolidating your data, you can efficiently analyze trends, identify patterns, and make informed business decisions.

Different Methods of Data Merging in Excel

Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool that allows you to manipulate and analyze large amounts of data easily. One of the common tasks in Excel is data merging, which involves combining information from multiple sources into a single dataset. There are several methods you can use to merge data in Excel, each with its own advantages and applications. In this article, we will explore some of the different methods of data merging in Excel.

1. VLOOKUP Function: The VLOOKUP function is a popular and straightforward method to merge data in Excel. It allows you to search for a specific value in one table and retrieve corresponding values from another table. By specifying the common column between the two tables, you can merge the data based on matching values.

2. INDEX and MATCH Functions: The INDEX and MATCH functions provide a more flexible and versatile approach to data merging. Unlike VLOOKUP, these functions can match values in any column or row, not just the first column. This allows you to merge data based on multiple criteria and perform more advanced lookups.

3. Power Query: Power Query is a powerful data transformation and merging tool in Excel. With Power Query, you can easily connect to multiple data sources, clean and transform your data, and merge tables using a visual interface. It offers more advanced options for data merging, such as merging based on multiple columns or merging with fuzzy matching.

4. Consolidate: The Consolidate feature in Excel allows you to combine data from multiple ranges into a single range. It can be useful for summarizing data from different worksheets or workbooks into a consolidated dataset. While not as flexible as the previous methods, Consolidate provides a quick and straightforward way to merge data.

5. Power Pivot: Power Pivot is an advanced data modeling and analysis tool in Excel. It allows you to create relationships between multiple tables and perform complex data merges. With Power Pivot, you can handle large datasets and create sophisticated data models for in-depth analysis.

Each method has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice of method depends on the specific requirements of your data merging task. Understanding these different methods will empower you to efficiently merge data in Excel and make the most out of your data analysis tasks.

Using the VLOOKUP Function

The VLOOKUP function in Excel is a powerful tool that enables you to merge data from different tables based on a common key. With this function, you can easily search for a value in one table and retrieve a corresponding value from another table.

To use the VLOOKUP function for data merging, you need two tables – a source table and a target table. The source table contains the data you want to merge into the target table. The key column, which is the common identifier between the two tables, should be present in both tables.

Here’s how you can use the VLOOKUP function to merge data:

1. Begin by selecting a cell in the target table where you want the merged data to be placed.

2. Type the following formula: =VLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num, [range_lookup])

3. Replace the lookup_value with the cell reference that contains the common key in the target table.

4. Next, specify the table_array parameter. This is the range of cells that includes both the key column and the data column in the source table.

5. Enter the col_index_num, which is the relative column number in the source table that contains the data you want to merge.

6. Finally, set the range_lookup parameter to either TRUE or FALSE to determine whether you want an approximate or exact match.

When you press Enter, the VLOOKUP function will search for the key in the source table and retrieve the corresponding value. If there is a match, it will display the merged data in the selected cell of the target table. If there is no match, it will return an error or a specified value, depending on the range_lookup parameter.

The VLOOKUP function is a versatile and efficient way to merge data in Excel. It simplifies the process of combining information from multiple tables, saving you time and effort.

Using the INDEX and MATCH Functions

The INDEX and MATCH functions in Excel are powerful tools that can be used together to merge data from multiple sources. While VLOOKUP is commonly used for merging data, the INDEX and MATCH functions offer more flexibility and control.

The INDEX function allows you to retrieve a value from a specific cell in a given range based on its row and column position. The MATCH function, on the other hand, helps you identify the position of a value within a range. By combining these two functions, you can retrieve data from one table and match it with data in another table.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use the INDEX and MATCH functions to merge data in Excel:

  1. Ensure data consistency: Before merging data using INDEX and MATCH, make sure that the data you want to match are in the same format, such as text or numbers. This will ensure accurate results.
  2. Identify the lookup value: Determine the value you want to match in both tables. This will be the basis for merging the data.
  3. Create the INDEX formula: In the cell where you want the merged data to appear, use the INDEX function to retrieve the desired data from one table. The formula syntax is: =INDEX(range, row_num, [column_num]). The range is the table from which you want to retrieve data, the row_num is the position of the desired value within the range, and the column_num is optional if your range contains only one column.
  4. Create the MATCH formula: In a separate cell, use the MATCH function to find the position of the lookup value in the other table. The formula syntax is: =MATCH(lookup_value, lookup_range, [match_type]). The lookup_value is the value you want to match, the lookup_range is the table where you want to find the value, and the match_type is optional and determines the type of match you want, such as exact or approximate.
  5. Combine INDEX and MATCH: In the cell where you want the merged data to appear, combine the INDEX and MATCH formulas using the following syntax: =INDEX(range1, MATCH(lookup_value, lookup_range2, [match_type]), [column_num]). This will retrieve the corresponding value from the other table based on the matching lookup value.
  6. Drag or copy the formula: Once you have merged the data in the first cell, you can drag the formula down or copy it across the range to merge data in multiple cells.

The INDEX and MATCH combination is particularly useful when dealing with large datasets or when the lookup value does not reside in the first column of the table. It offers more flexibility in finding and merging data from different tables or sheets in Excel.

By using the INDEX and MATCH functions in Excel, you can merge data efficiently and accurately. This can be a valuable tool for tasks such as consolidating information, comparing data from different sources, or creating reports that require data from multiple tables.

Using Power Query to Merge Data

Power Query is a powerful tool in Excel that allows you to connect, transform, and merge data from different sources. When it comes to merging data, Power Query provides a seamless and efficient process. Here’s how you can use Power Query to merge data in Excel:

Step 1: Prepare your data

Before merging the data, make sure that your datasets are in separate Excel worksheets or tables. Each dataset should have a common column that can be used to merge the data.

Step 2: Open Power Query Editor

To merge the data, go to the “Data” tab in Excel and click on “Get Data” to open the Power Query Editor.

Step 3: Connect to the data sources

In the Power Query Editor, click on “Combine Queries” and choose the appropriate option based on your data sources. You can merge data from different Excel files, databases, or even from online sources.

Step 4: Merge the data

In the Power Query Editor, select the datasets that you want to merge by checking the boxes next to them. Then, click on the “Merge Queries” button.

Step 5: Configure the merge

In the “Merge Queries” dialog box, choose the common column that will be used to merge the data. You can also specify the type of merge (inner, left, right, or full) based on your merging requirements. Click OK to proceed.

Step 6: Customize the merged data

After the merge, you can customize the merged data by selecting the columns you want to include or exclude. You can also perform additional transformations, such as removing duplicates, adding calculated columns, or filtering data.

Step 7: Load the merged data

Once you have configured the merged data, click on the “Close & Load” button to load the merged data into a new worksheet or table in Excel.

Using Power Query to merge data in Excel provides a flexible and efficient way to combine different datasets. It saves time and effort, especially when dealing with large amounts of data. With its powerful capabilities, Power Query takes the hassle out of data merging and enables you to get insightful results quickly and easily.

Tips for Successful Data Merging in Excel

When it comes to merging data in Excel, it’s crucial to follow certain tips and best practices to ensure accuracy and efficiency. Here are some valuable tips to help you successfully merge data in Excel:

  1. Ensure Consistent Data Formats: Before merging data, make sure that the data in the merging columns have the same format. Inconsistent formats can lead to errors and mismatched data.
  2. Clean Up Data: Remove any unnecessary spaces, special characters, or leading/trailing zeroes from your data. Cleaning up your data will help avoid issues during the merging process.
  3. Ensure Unique Identifiers: Make sure that the columns you’re using to merge the data have unique identifiers. If there are duplicates, it can lead to inaccurate results or incorrect matches.
  4. Sort Data: Sort your data based on the merging columns to simplify the merging process. Sorting the data will ensure that the records align correctly and make it easier to identify matches.
  5. Backup Your Data: Before starting the merging process, it’s always a good idea to create a backup of your original data. This way, if any issues or errors arise during the merging process, you can restore your data to its original state.
  6. Use the Correct Merging Function: Excel offers different methods for merging data, such as using functions like VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, or utilizing Power Query. Choose the method that best suits your data and merging requirements.
  7. Verify Merged Data: After merging the data, verify the results to ensure accuracy. Cross-check the merged data with the original datasets or use appropriate formulas to validate the merged information.
  8. Handle Missing Data: In cases where there is missing data in one of the merging columns, ensure that you have a plan to handle these instances. You can either exclude the missing data or fill in the gaps to avoid any data inconsistencies.
  9. Document Your Process: Keeping a record of your merging process can be helpful for future reference. Document the steps you follow, including any formulas or functions used, to make it easier to replicate the process or troubleshoot any issues.
  10. Practice Caution with Large Datasets: Merging large datasets can be resource-intensive and time-consuming. Consider breaking down the merging process into smaller chunks or using more advanced techniques to optimize performance.

By following these tips, you can ensure a smooth and successful data merging process in Excel. Remember to validate your results and make any necessary adjustments to achieve accurate and reliable merged data.


In conclusion, merging data in Excel is a powerful tool that can save time and streamline workflows. Whether you are combining data from multiple sources or consolidating information into a single sheet, Excel provides various methods to accomplish this task. By utilizing functions like CONCATENATE, VLOOKUP, and Power Query, you can merge data efficiently and accurately.

Remember to carefully plan and prepare your data before merging, ensuring that the columns match, and the data is clean and compatible. Take advantage of Excel’s features like sorting, filtering, and removing duplicates to optimize your merged dataset.

With a solid understanding of Excel’s merging techniques and some practice, you can easily manipulate and consolidate large amounts of data, making it easier to analyze, present, and make informed decisions. So, start exploring the merging capabilities of Excel and unlock its potential to enhance your data management and analysis tasks.


1. How do I merge data in Excel?
To merge data in Excel, you can use the CONCATENATE function, the “&” operator, or the TEXTJOIN function. CONCATENATE allows you to join text from multiple cells together, while the “&” operator performs the same function in a simpler way. The TEXTJOIN function is useful when you need to join text from multiple cells with a delimiter between them. You can also use the Merge Cells feature in Excel to merge cells physically.

2. What if I want to combine data from different columns into a single column?
If you want to combine data from different columns into a single column, you can use the CONCATENATE function or the “&” operator. Simply reference the cells you want to combine in the formula and use the appropriate separator, such as a comma or space, if needed. This will create a new column containing the merged data from multiple columns.

3. Can I merge data from multiple worksheets into a single worksheet?
Yes, you can merge data from multiple worksheets into a single worksheet in Excel. One way to do this is by using the “=SheetName!CellReference” format to reference cells in other worksheets. Simply enter the formula in the desired cell of the destination worksheet, specifying the sheet name and cell reference for each cell you want to merge. Alternatively, you can use the Consolidate feature in Excel to consolidate data from multiple sheets into one.

4. What should I do if some cells have empty values?
If some cells have empty values and you want to merge them with other cells, you can use the IF function to check if a cell is empty and return a specific value in that case. For example, you can use the formula “=IF(A1=””, “No Data”, A1)” to replace empty cells with “No Data” before merging. This ensures that the empty cells are included in the merged data while maintaining consistency.

5. Is it possible to undo or revert the merged data in Excel?
Unfortunately, once you merge data in Excel, it cannot be directly undone or reverted to its original state. It is recommended to create a backup or save a copy of the worksheet before merging the data. If you need to undo the merge, you would need to manually separate the merged cells and re-enter the original data. It is always a good practice to double-check the data and make sure you have a backup before performing any merging operations.