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Putting Words Together in Spreadsheets

In this article, I will cover two functions you can use to combine text strings in spreadsheets.

The two functions are:

  • CONCATENATE
  • CONCAT

Each function has its merits, and I will go over each and how they differ and relate to one another.

The CONCATENATE Function

The CONCATENATE function is available in both Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. This function takes several text strings and combines them into a single string.

Now, if you are not familiar with the term “string,” this is just an array of letters. It could be a word, or it could just be a conglomerate of random letters.

For example, all items below are considered strings.

  • Stronghold
  • asdfasdf
  • big word (here the space is considered a character and is part of the string)

With your newfound knowledge of strings, it’s time to dive into how the CONCATENATE function works.

How the CONCATENATE Function Works

Now, the CONCATENATE function works a little differently in Excel and Google Sheets. Let’s go over how it works in Excel first.

In Excel, the CONCATENATE function can accept up to 255 arguments. Each argument can be the text you type in directly or a reference to a single cell containing text.

Here is an example.

It’s important to note that the CONCATENATE function in Excel cannot accept a range of cells as an argument.

For instance, the below example does not work properly.

This is where the CONCATENATE function is different in Google Sheets.

Within Google Sheets, the CONCATENATE function works the same way as in Excel, with the difference being that it can accept a range of cells as an argument.

So our previous example, which would not have worked in Excel, will work in Google Sheets.

The CONCAT Function

In Microsoft Excel, the CONCAT function works the same way as the CONCATENATE function, but with two major differences.

  • The CONCAT function is only available in Excel 2019 or later
  • The CONCAT function can accept cells ranges as arguments

Therefore, the following example would work in Microsoft Excel with the CONCAT function.

You could say the the CONCAT function in Excel is exactly the same as the CONCATENATE function in Google Sheets.

The CONCAT Function in Google Sheets

So if the CONCATENATE function in Google Sheets is the same as the CONCAT function in Excel, then what does the CONCAT function in Google Sheets do?

Read that sentence one more time if you are confused. If you are still confused, here is what I said.

  • If Google Sheets CONCATENATE = Excel CONCAT
  • Then Google Sheets CONCAT = ???

The Google Sheets CONCAT function does not have an equivalent in Excel.

The Google Sheets CONCAT function can only accept two arguments, and these arguments can only be a text value or a reference to a single cell containing a text value.

The CONCAT function then takes these two values and puts them together.

Take a look at the example below.

The CONCAT function takes the text values in the two cells and turns them into a single string.

And that is how you can use the CONCAT and CONCATENATE functions in Excel and Google Sheets to combine words and build a single string.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I didn’t realize how confusing the two differences in Excel and Google Sheets are! To be honest, I always just use CONCAT in Excel, and I didn’t even know about the rest! This will be good to know if I ever use it in Google Sheets! Thanks you!

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