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: Identifying Merged Cells.

Identifying Merged Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 22, 2012)

Alan asked if there is a way to quickly and easily identify which cells are merged in a workbook created by someone else. There are, in reality, several different ways you can go about identifying these cells.

One method for identifying the cells is to use Excel's searching capabilities. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+F. Excel displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. If necessary, click the Options button to make sure the Find and Replace dialog box is expanded to show all options. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Find What box is empty.
  5. With the insertion point in the Find What box, click the Format button. Excel displays the Find Format dialog box.
  6. Make sure the Alignment tab is displayed. (See Figure 2.)
  7. Figure 2. The Alignment tab of the Find Format dialog box.

  8. Make sure the Merge Cells check box is selected (there should be a check in the check box).
  9. Click OK to close the Find Format dialog box.
  10. Click Find All.

Excel searches for any merged cells and if they are located, the cells are displayed in the bottom of the Find and Replace dialog box. You can then select one of the found ranges and the corresponding range is selected in the worksheet.

If you prefer, you can a macro to find the various merged cells in the worksheet. The following macro shows perhaps the simplest method of doing this:

Sub FindMerged1()
    Dim c As Range
    For Each c In ActiveSheet.UsedRange
        If c.MergeCells Then
            MsgBox c.Address & " is merged"
        End If
    Next
End Sub

This particular macro steps through all the cells in the worksheet (well, at least those that are in the UsedRange) and, if the cell is part of a merged cell, a message box is displayed. Note that the pertinent property being checked is the MergeCells property. This is set to True if the cell is merged with another cell.

Of course, a macro such as this can take quite a long time to run if the worksheet has lots of cells and even longer if a good number of those cells are merged. Your macro would run faster if it didn't stop at each merged cell and display a dialog box. The following version takes a different approach, filling each merged cell with a yellow color:

Sub FindMerged2()
    Dim c As Range
    For Each c In ActiveSheet.UsedRange
        If c.MergeCells Then
            c.Interior.ColorIndex = 36
        End If
    Next
End Sub

A variation on this approach could be to create a user-defined function that simply returns True or False if the cell is merged:

Function FindMerged3(rCell As Range)
    FindMerged3 = rCell.MergeCells
End Function

With this simple function you could then use conditional formatting to somehow highlight cells if they are merged. (If the function returns True, then conditional formatting applies whatever formatting you specify to the cell.)

Finally, if you want a list of cells that are merged in the worksheet, you can simply have your macro put together the list instead of coloring the cells:

Sub FindMerged4()
    Dim c As Range
    Dim sMsg As String

    sMsg = ""
    For Each c In ActiveSheet.UsedRange
        If c.MergeCells Then
            If sMsg = "" Then
                sMsg = "Merged worksheet cells:" & vbCr
            End If
            sMsg = sMsg & c.Address & vbCr
        End If
    Next
    If sMsg = "" Then
        sMsg = "No merged worksheet cells."
    End If

    MsgBox sMsg
End Sub

This variation displays a single message box at the end of the macro, indicating the addresses of any merged cells located in the worksheet.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3905) 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: Identifying Merged 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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