Unlock the Power of Concatenated Text in Excel

As an Excel power user, transforming and formatting data is critical to extract insights. One of the most useful but overlooked techniques is concatenation – combining values from separate cells into dynamic custom text.

In this guide, we‘ll explore the key Excel concatenation functions:

  • Concatenate: The original method for joining text
  • Concat: Newer function with handy upgrades
  • Textjoin: Most advanced option ideal for large datasets

Mastering these tools allows immense flexibility to manipulate text from spreadsheets, reports, and other sources into the exact string formats you need.

The Old Faithful: Concatenate Function

The concatenate function has been in Excel forever as the primary way to combine text strings. The syntax is dead simple:


You can mash up the contents of multiple cells, inject custom text, add separators, and more.

For example:


Joins text from cells A1 and B1 with a space between.

You have total control over separators for formatting the perfect text string. Commas, dashes, spaces, line breaks – anything goes.

Use Cases:

  • Combine first and last names into full names
  • Build addresses by joining cells with street, city, state, zip
  • Create narratives and reports by chaining data points

The one big limitation is that concatenate doesn‘t allow ranges as an argument for quick joining columns of data. But otherwise, it‘s a straightforward way to fuse cell values into combined strings.


In Excel 2016, Microsoft rolled out an upgraded CONCAT function to fix the range issue and introduce a few other handy improvements.

The concat syntax allows passing cell ranges like A1:B1 to easily join text from entire columns in one operation:


No more tedious references to individual cells!

However, custom formatting is still hamstrung compared to concatenate. You won‘t have fine-tuned control over injecting delimiter strings or handling spaces between cell values.

In the end, concat makes ranges easier but lacks the formatting precision that concatenate enables.

Advanced Data Wrangling: TEXTJOIN Function

The most recent concatenation upgrade is the textjoin function – an extremely versatile formula for even the most complex string manipulation tasks.

With textjoin, you can:

  • Join cell ranges with custom delimiter formatting
  • Ignore blank cells
  • Output elaborate text strings perfect for reports and analysis

The syntax adds more flexibility:

=TEXTJOIN(delimiter, ignore_empty, text1, text2,...)  

The textjoin arguments allow immensely robust concatenate operations:

  1. delimiter: Custom string injected between values
  2. ignore_empty: Optional TRUE/FALSE to skip blanks
  3. text1, text2, etc: Ranges or cells to join

This combination of delimiter formatting, intelligent blank handling, and range joining makes textjoin ideal for wrangling large datasets into beautifully formatted text.

The one downside is no ability to add pure custom text arguments like "Welcome to the report". But for concatenating cell values, it‘s extremely powerful.

Real-World Use Cases

Text concatenation in Excel helps immensely with reporting, analysis and even raw data manipulation:

  • Format reports and tables by elegantly combining text, IDs, stats in cells
  • Build reporting narratives and summaries by chaining key data points
  • Combine databases of names, addresses, cities cleanly into master list
  • Organize raw data by standardizing and reformatting records

Whether creating exporter customer profiles, cleaning messy sales data or building executive briefings, concatenated text adds invaluable flexibility.

Function Recommendations

Here‘s a quick guide on picking the right concat function for common needs:

  • Concatenate: Simple joining of cells and custom text
  • Concat: Alternative to concatenate when dealing with columns/ranges rather than individual cells
  • Textjoin: Advanced heavy lifting – managing large datasets while handling formatting

The old concatenate function still works perfectly fine for basic tasks. But textjoin offers the most muscle, especially for big data needs.

Pro Tip: Creative Textjoin Formulas

While the basics get you started, textjoin really shines when you exploit its advanced capabilities:

  • Multi-level delimiters: Use tuples like (" | ", CHAR(10)) to add pipes and line breaks between rows
  • IgnoreErrors handling: Wrap in IFERROR to avoid #VALUE! errors when invalid data exists
  • Nested FUNCTIONS: Call TRIM, LEFT etc within TEXTJOIN for ultra-advanced text manipulation!

Follow along future guides as we unlock more creative applications of Excel‘s versatile textjoin formula for superior text wrangling. Or drop suggestions for tutorials in the comments!

Conclusion: Let the Concatenation Begin!

Text manipulation is a pivotal skill for managing business datasets, extracting insights and communicating data narratives.

Luckily, Excel‘s Concatenate, Concat and Textjoin functions make building custom text strings easier than ever.

We explored those core options today, along with realistic use cases and expert recommendations.

Now it‘s your turn! What tasks will concatenated text help with? Reporting? Data cleaning? Combining databases? Sound off with your top applications to put these functions to work.

And tell me what other Excel guides would prove useful! Our team at GeekFlare is always aiming to provide actionable education for the community.