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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.

Thanks for voting!

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

75 comments

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  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    FML i cannot believe MS has taken nearly 2 years to do nothing about this. I echo every single one of Bill's sentiments. Im so sick and tired of getting merged cells from other users.

  • Futski commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Ditto on Lubomír Tosek's comment. Lets see Left Across Selection and Right Across Selection too. And add vertical across selections too.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Or just put a Center Across Selection command in the All Commands list in the customize ribbon utility, so I can easily add this button myself and put it where I want!

  • Mark Syptak commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Create a command icon that can "center across selection" that can be added to the quick access tool bar.

  • Chris Newman commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Just put a "Center Across" button in the Alignment Group on the Ribbon. There's a great little spot for it between the "Wrap Text" and "Merge & Center buttons" :)

    Would also like to see it work vertically as well.

    And if you are up for more improvements, it would be nice if Center Across text would display when some columns are collapsed via a group (Merged cells do this currently - see: https://www.thespreadsheetguru.com/blog/when-merging-cells-is-needed).

  • Lubomír Tosek commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Of course, I agree.
    But it is not enought.
    Center Across Selection must be followed by Left Across Selection and Right Across Selection!

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Is good that you've merged the discussions. But make Center Across the default! That's super important. I'd say, change the "Merge & Center drop-down" to a "Center Across drop-down" where you could find the merge in the very bottom hehehe....

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Whoever just merged two "Center Across" threads, thanks and well done.

    Does this mean someone from MS is actually looking at this stuff?

    Please also include the next two while you're at it:
    /35066542-replace-merge-centre-icon-in-the-ribbon
    /36071818-enable-center-across-selection-to-be-added-to-the

    (The whole board needs massive data cleansing, as there are duplicated threads all over the place, much worse than this topic - try a search on conditional formatting!)

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree!
    I didn't even realize Center Across Selection existed before I stumbled on this thread! So glad I did, now I'm using it regularly... and whish it was easier to access (and that the "bad" option of merging cells wasn't so easy to access)

  • Ed Hansberry commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Center Across Selection should be the default action as it has the least amount of side effects (destroying ability to sort, causing problems for Tables, adding data to Power Pivot or Power Query, etc.)

  • Pandomania commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Absolutely agree. Merged cells are evil.
    Center Across Selection should be able to be added to the Quick Access Toolbar too!

  • Pandomania commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Absolutely agree!! Merging cells should only be done as a last resort.
    Whenever I give training to Excel newbies, one of the first things I tell them is NOT to merge cells, and I show them Center Across Selection.
    Surely Center Across Selection should be the default approach.
    I am absolutely astonished that you can't even add it to the Quick Access Toolbar. Craziness!!

  • Jørgen Koch commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I was about to make almost the same so I will vote for this instead.

    But I also suggest that Microsoft actually makes Center Across Selection default and the eventually hides the Merge & Center way down in the drop-down (hopefully total removes it from the drop-down).

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yes please!!!! I use that formatting all the time, as it's much better than merging cells as it doesn't cause problems with selecting ranges, copying & pasting the way merged cells do.

  • AHarris commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yes, I hate merged cells! Yes they are Evil! Seriously they create so many problems!

    While I am comfortable using a macro for Centre Across Selection, I cannot believe that Merge and Centre has such a prominent position in the home tab and the far superior (for 95% of scenarios) Centre Across Selection is hidden in the alignment dialog box.

    The only time Merge and Centre is better is when we need to merge rows but a vertical Centre Across Selection would be better for that too. There's a suggestion for that somewhere - please go vote for it!

  • 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.

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