Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Concatenating Ranges of Cells.

Concatenating Ranges of Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 21, 2015)

Excel provides one workbook function and one operator that both have the same purpose—to combine strings into a longer string. The CONCATENATE function and the ampersand (&) operator have essentially the same purpose.

Many people use the ampersand operator in preference to the CONCATENATE function because it requires less typing, but CONCATENATE would become immensely more valuable if it would handle a range of cells. Unfortunately it does not, but you can create your own user-defined function that will concatenate every cell in a range very nicely. Consider the following macro:

Function Concat1(myRange As Range, Optional myDelimiter As String)
    Dim r As Range

    Application.Volatile
    For Each r In myRange
        Concat = Concat & r & myDelimiter
    Next r
    If Len(myDelimiter) > 0 Then
        Concat = Left(Concat, Len(Concat) - Len(myDelimiter))
    End If
End Function

This function requires a range and provides for an optional delimiter. The last "If" statement removes the final trailing delimiter from the concatenated string. With the CONCAT1 function, cells can be added and deleted within the range, without the maintenance required by CONCATENATE or ampersand formulas. All you need to do is call the function in one of the following manners:

=CONCAT1(C8:E10)
=CONCAT1(C8:E10,"|")

The second method of calling the function uses the optional delimiter, which is inserted between each of the concatenated values from the range C8:E10. There is a problem with this, however: If a cell in that range is empty, then you can end up with two sequential delimiters. If you prefer to have only a single delimiter, then you need to make one small change to the function:

Function Concat2(myRange As Range, Optional myDelimiter As String)
    Dim r As Range

    Application.Volatile
    For Each r In myRange
        If Len(r.Text) > 0 Then
            Concat = Concat & r & myDelimiter
        End If
    Next r
    If Len(myDelimiter) > 0 Then
        Concat = Left(Concat, Len(Concat) - Len(myDelimiter))
    End If
End Function

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3062) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Concatenating Ranges of Cells.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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