How to Center Across Selection in Excel – Avoid Merging Cells

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Did you ever use the “Merge Cells” feature in Excel?

If so, then you must know how useful it is because it helps you in centering the text across different columns by simply merging them. Do you have any idea about how to Center Across Selection in Excel feature?

Yes, this is another similar feature used to center the text horizontally across different columns but there is no merging you will find in this feature. When it comes to using the “Merge Cells” and “Center Across Selection” features, most probably you will find the center across selection feature super useful because your data can be easily manipulated. On the other hand, when a column is in the merged cells section, you will notice the other columns with merged cells will also get selected.

Merging cells in Excel could be also problematic because each individual cell in the group needs to be accessed.

How to Center Across Selection in Excel?

Let’s find out how you can manage to use this feature. Below are the steps:

  • Choose a cell range across which you need to center the text.
  • Now, right-click and choose the “Format Cells” option given in the drop-down menu.

  • Or else you can even choose the cell range and open the Home tab.
  • Now, click on the Alignment Grouping Arrow of the Alignment menu.

  • The Format Cells dialog box will pop up.
  • From there, you can click on the Alignment tab and choose the Horizontal option from the drop-down menu.
  • Click on the Center Across Selection and click OK.


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  • You will notice while putting the text in the first cell of the selection, Excel makes it Center across the selection. You can witness it in the above image where the text is added in column A and Excel made it in the Center Across the Selection.

In case, when you add the text in any cell across the selection instead of the first cell, it will however make it center across the selection and you will also notice that the center is not the exact center.

How to Center Across Selection in Excel with Keyboard Shortcut?

Well, you will not find any direct shortcut key that helps you center across selections in Excel. However, you still can have a combination of some keyboard shortcuts to perform this function.

Ctrl + 1 → A → Tab → C → C → Enter → Enter

Follow the steps given below:

  • Choose a cell range and then press the CTRL + 1 shortcut key combination. It will open up the Format Cells dialog box.
  • Now, press A to open the Alignment tab from the Format Cells dialog box.
  • Press the Tab key, it will highlight the Horizontal field.
  • Now, press the C key from the keyboard to choose the Center Across Selection option.
  • Press ENTER key twice.

All done!

Center Across Selection Vs. Merging Cells

Do you know which feature is the most preferable?

Is it the Center across selection or Merging cells feature that you should choose?

Why Merging Cells in Excel is not Preferable?

Well, the above data clearly explains why you should choose the Center across the selection feature in Excel rather than the merge cells. It is a practical approach that can merge cells along with the text centering across cells.

If you consider a well-designed financial model the merging cells feature is not the best practice. As you know the financial model can navigate and modify easily, whereas merging cells can happen a sheet vanish the reliability of its columns and rows.

Suppose, you need to select a column with a cell including a merged cell by default that returns all the columns consisting of selected merged cells. You will have to unmerge and reform the merged cells once again.

As a result, the center across selection feature appears to be the best practice rather than relying on merging cells as it can maintain the flexibility of the model structure.

To Wrap Up:

In this post, you have learned how to center across selections in Excel. Moreover, you have come to know how important this feature is because it is the best alternative approach to the Merge cells feature.

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