The CONCATENATE function in Google Sheets joins
together multiple chunks of data. This function is helpful when managing large
sets of information that each need a similar treatment.
For example, you might use the CONCATENATE
function if the spreadsheet has one column for a first name and another for a
last name, but you want them joined together to form a single cell with both
names. You could this manually by typing each name, or you can use CONCATENATE
to automate it.
Many other examples of the CONCATENATE function could
be given, so we’ll look at a few below.
A Simple Example
At its simplest form, the CONCATENATE function
pieces together two sets of data without any other options. That’s possible
with this simple form:
Of course, in this example, we’re assuming the
first name is in cell A1 and the second in cell B1. You can adapt this to your
own spreadsheet by replacing those references with your own.
Pressing Enter with this particular
example would produce MaryTruman. As you can see, the first name is
butted right up against the last name. The CONCATENATE function did its job in
this scenario, but there are other options you can include in it to expand its
capabilities, like to add a space or data from other cells.
Using a Space in the CONCATENATE Formula
Knowing how to use spaces with CONCATENATE is
important because datasets often aren’t set up exactly how you want them to be.
Like in our example above, we want the name to look presentable by adding a
space between the two cells.
Spaces are included in this Google Sheets
function using double quotes:
If you can’t see here, there’s a space within
those quotes. The idea behind using the quotes is that you’re entering data
manually and not choosing spreadsheet data.
In other words, A1 and B1 are
clearly part of the spreadsheet already, so you’re referencing them by entering
them as they are (the cell letter plus the cell number). However, to include
your own data within the formula, you need to surround it in quotes.
Adding Text to a CONCATENATE Formula
The CONCATENATE function can do more than just
join a couple cells and put a space between them. Below is an example of how to
use CONCATENATE to form an entire sentence using cell data.
In this example of the CONCATENATE function, we’re stringing together the county and its rank number, but instead of leaving it at that, we’re using spaces and our own manually-entered data to create a full sentence:
=CONCATENATE(A2, " is", " ranked ", C2, " compared to these other ceremonial counties.")
To make the formula work like regular English,
don’t forget to put spaces where necessary. You can’t add a space right after a
cell reference (like C2 above), but you can when using double quotes. As
you can see above, we used a space multiple times in our quotes to make the
sentence read normally.
Applying the CONCATENATE Formula Elsewhere
Lastly, the only real use of the CONCATENATE
function is when dealing with enough data that time is being saved versus
entering the data manually. So, all you need to do to make the formula work
with the other cells is drag it downward.
Click the cell once so that it’s highlighted.
You should see a small box on the bottom right-hand corner of the cell, like
Click and hold that box while
dragging it downward to apply it to the dataset. Stop dragging once you’ve
reached the last item you want the formula to be applied to. You can always
drag it again from there should you need to include more cells later.
Google Sheets has a similar function called SPLIT. However, instead of joining
the cells, it splits one cell into multiple cells depending on which character
you choose to mark as the split-off point.