How To Merge or Split Two Cells in Word (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published March 17, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many businesses require that employees possess basic computer and word processor skills to perform administrative or operational duties. Knowing how to use the various tools in these word processor applications, such as tables, may help some employees improve their work performance or technology skills. Microsoft Word is a common application in many businesses, so you may benefit from learning how to use it. In this article, we discuss why you merge cells in Microsoft Word, how to merge two cells in Word, why you split cells, how to do that and some tips for using this process in Word.

Related: 5 Interview Questions About Microsoft Word (With Sample Answers)

Why do you merge cells in Word?

Some people may merge cells in Word to create a header for their table. When you create a table on Word, it creates a table that has the same amount of cells on each column or row. Merging cells allows you to edit the format of the table for purposes such as labeling. This may improve the table's readability. You may also merge cells that contain similar information or long portions of text. Merging cells in a table that contains different types of information may also provide a separation border that distinguishes each portion of the table.

Related: How To Insert Horizontal and Vertical Lines in Microsoft Word

How to merge two cells in Word

Merging cells begins with opening the Word application, then opening a document on your computer. You may begin a new document or open an existing document. After this, you can insert a table or edit an existing table in the document. Here are a few sets of steps that may help you format your table in Word:

Merging cells using the Ribbon

You can merge horizontal cells into one cell, or you can merge vertical cells to create a column. Consider this list of steps if you want to merge cells by using the Ribbon menu:

  1. Select the cells you want to merge within the table by clicking your mouse and dragging it across the cells. Make sure these cells share a border.

  2. Select the "Layout" tab on the Ribbon menu. You can locate this underneath the "Table Tools" heading that appears when you edit or type in your table.

  3. Select the "Merge cells" button inside the "Merge" group on this tab.

Merging cells using the Context menu

This method is typically shorter than using the ribbon menu. Here's a list of steps that shows you how to use it:

  1. Select adjacent cells you want to merge in the table by clicking and dragging your mouse over the cells.

  2. Right-click on the cells. This makes the Context menu appear.

  3. Select the "Merge cells" option on the lower half of this menu.

Merging cells using the Table Eraser tool

This tool lets users merge cells by erasing the borders between certain cells. This typically doesn't require selecting the content within the cells. Here's a list of steps that shows you how to use the tool for this process:

  1. Select the "Layout" tab from the Ribbon menu. You can locate this underneath the "Table Tools" heading that appears when you edit or type in your table.

  2. Select the "Eraser" option from the "Draw" group on this tab. This turns your cursor into a white eraser.

  3. Move your cursor to your table and click the border between two cells you want to merge. If you're combining two horizontal cells, click the vertical line, otherwise click the horizontal line to merge columns.

  4. Click the borders of each additional cell you want to merge.

You may also click and drag your cursor over multiple cells to merge them all at once. Doing this highlights the borders in red and then deletes them when you let go of the cursor. It's important to note that merging cells by dragging your cursor with the Erase tool also erases the content within those cells. This works best when you want to merge empty table cells. If you don't want to erase the information in those cells, individually click each border.

Why split cells in Word?

You may split cells in a table on the Word application because you want to undo any actions where you've split cells or edit the cells that you've merged. For example, a user may want to split the header they've made into two, slightly smaller cells for a table with two columns of data. This allows them to label each column as they see fit. You could also split cells if you want to add additional rows or columns to your table.

Related: 6 Microsoft Office Skills To Include on a CV (With Tips)

How to split cells in Word

Here are a couple of sets of steps that may help you split cells within your table:

Splitting cells using the Ribbon menu

Here's a list of steps that may help you split cells in a table on Word with the Ribbon menu:

  1. Select the cell that you want to split in the table.

  2. Select the "Layout" tab from the Ribbon menu.

  3. Click "Split cells" from the "Merge" group on this tab. This brings up the Split Cells pop-up menu.

  4. Enter the number of columns or rows into which you want to split the cells.

  5. Click "OK."

Splitting cells using the Context menu

This method typically requires less time than using the Ribbon menu. Here's a list of steps that may help you use the Context menu:

  1. Select the merged cell you want to split.

  2. Right-click your mouse. This makes the Context menu appear.

  3. Select "Split cells" from this menu. This makes the Split Cells pop-up menu appear.

  4. Enter the number of columns or rows into which you want to split the cells.

  5. Click "OK."

Tips for using tables and cells in Word

Consider this list of steps when using tables on the Word application:

  • Use the "CTRL+Z" keyboard shortcut to undo your most recent actions. You may benefit from using this shortcut if you accidentally merge or split extra cells.

  • Use gridlines if your table doesn't show visible borders. You can do this by selecting the "Layout" tab and then clicking "View Gridlines."

  • Save time by inserting a table from Excel. Word offers an option to insert an existing table from the Excel app directly into a Word document. Using this option may help you save time and effort.

Related: Computer Skills: Definitions and Examples

Please note that the company mentioned in this article isn't affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles