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How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Add Center Across Selection to the Merge & Center Drop-down

Do you hate Merged Cells? Do you believe Merged Cells are evil? Do you curse every time your selection rectangle goes from one column to five columns just because you touched a merged cell? Do you constantly get workbooks from co-workers who continue to merge cells? Tired of not being able to Sort or Paste because someone merged a cell?

Excel encourages people to use Merge & Center by offering it front-and-center on the Home tab. Thus, few people discover the (superior) Center Across Selection option on the Alignment tab of the Format Cells dialog.

Currently, the Merge & Center drop-down offers: Merge & Center, Merge Across, Merge Cells, UnMerge.

My request: Adding a fifth item of "Center Across Selection" to the drop-down.

As a bonus, add a tool tip explaining the perils of merged cells and how Center Across Selection is superior in nearly every way.

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    Bill Jelen shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    35 comments

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      • Alan Murray commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I intentionally have an exercise on my Excel courses for beginners that includes merged cells, and how they make the task the students have at hand awkward. It makes them appreciate the benefits of Center Across Selection over Merge and Center immediately.

        Please get the Center Across Selection feature made more accessible.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Merge is sometimes usefull for vertical merging but for horizontal it's an evil and Center Across works perfect.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I sue this command fervently and often. Back in my day I created a macro button to perform this task because it is so useful. Merge and Center is used because people don't know about the Center and align, when I show people they ALL agree it is a superior approach to aligning text but just difficult to find for most.

      • Daniel Lamarche commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        My 2 cents

        Type in a Module in the Personal Macro Workbook (PERSONAL.XLSB) the snippet below:

        Sub CenterAcrossSel()
        Selection.HorizontalAlignment=xlCenterAcrossSelection
        End Sub

        Assign the macro to the first (or any) button in the QAT then once you make a selection hit Alt+1 or any number position of the button. I teach this one in my XL VBA course.
        Many love it.

      • Jason commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This would actually be a part of horizontal alignment, not the merge drop-down, but yes I would like this more accessible. There doesn't even seem to be a way to add it to quick access.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I teach Excel time to time and noticed that no one even noticed the center across selection option. It is then a nightmare to change one's habit !!!
        It's a simple change to operate but with many benefits for users !

      • Almir Jorge commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Também sou contra a mescla de células.
        Como opção, para quem precisa, sugiro usar "centralizar a seleção".

      • Mark C commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I've always hated merge and centre, but I had no idea "centre across selection" even existed!

        Thanks! (voted).

      • H Dum commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Not being buried would be great.
        Personally I'd still use merge cells, currently to cumbersome to center across some and merge others. Center across in not effective when you have text you've rotated vertically, and want it to go across multiple rows. Ex- have multiple items offered in several selections, but one item is not offered in one grouping of selections. Marge and center with vertical text Not Available.

        @Monte Tucker Conditional formatting is under styles, which generally is on the ribbon. Conditional formatting pre-dates the ribbon. You can customize what color the cell is under what circumstance by defining the rule.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Agreed ... this is a brilliant option of which I was not aware until you explained it. I'm not a fan of Merge and Center at all, but use it (until now) begrudgingly. No more!

      • Khris F. commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        You are the real MVP of Excel users. I hate this issue and just accepted it as a limitation but your suggestion seems like a perfect solution to this.

      • Anil commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Better would be just to get rid of the button.
        Bury the "feature" really deep somewhere,
        so if we DO actually need it,
        we will have to look for it.

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