This guide covers everything you need to know about the Google Sheets CONCATENATE function, including its definition, syntax, use cases, and how to use it.
What is the CONCATENATE Function? How Does It Work?
The CONCATENATE function in Google Sheets combines multiple text strings into one unified string. It’s like linking different pieces of text, from cells or directly written, into a single line.
What’s useful about CONCATENATE is that it can join text from different cells. This is especially useful if you’re trying to combine data for analysis or presentation.
However, there’s something unique about how it works with ranges: Instead of combining values top to bottom in columns, it links them left to right in rows. So, if you use CONCATENATE(A2:B7), it will combine like this: A2, B2, A3, B3, and so on until A7, B7.
When using the function, it processes each piece of text in the order you provide them. For example, with CONCATENATE(“Welcome”, ” “, “to”, ” “, “Sheets!”), the result is “Welcome to Sheets!”.
Combining text manually can be time-consuming, especially with a lot of data. That’s why CONCATENATE is so helpful in Google Sheets. And if you’re looking to further manipulate text, you might also want to check out the SPLIT or JOIN functions.
The syntax and arguments for the function are as follows:
CONCATENATE(string1, [string2, …])
- string1 – This is the initial string or the first string that you want to append or combine with other strings. This is a required argument.
- string2, … – These are optional additional strings that you want to append in sequence to the initial string. You can add as many additional strings as you want.
Usage notes related to syntax and arguments:
- The CONCATENATE function in Google Sheets is used to append or combine two or more strings together. The strings can be text, numbers, or single-cell references.
- The arguments must be separated by commas. For example, to concatenate the strings “Hello” and “World”, the correct syntax would be CONCATENATE(“Hello”, “World”).
- If you want to append a space, comma, or other characters between strings, you must include these as separate arguments. For example, to append “Hello” and “World” with a space in between, the correct syntax would be CONCATENATE(“Hello”, ” “, “World”).
- The CONCATENATE function will return an error if the total length of the strings to be concatenated exceeds 50,000 characters, which is the cell limit in Google Sheets.
Examples of How to Use the CONCATENATE Function
Here are some practical examples of how to use the CONCATENATE function in Google Sheets:
Example #1: Combining First and Last Names
Suppose you have a list of first names in column A (A2: John, A3: Jane) and last names in column B (B2: Doe, B3: Smith). You can use the CONCATENATE function to combine these names into a full name in column C. The formula would look like this:
=CONCATENATE(A2, ” “, B2).
This will return “John Doe”. Similarly, =CONCATENATE(A3, ” “, B3) will return “Jane Smith”.
Example #2: Creating Email Addresses
Let’s say you have a list of names in column A (A2: John, A3: Jane) and want to create email addresses for each person using a specific domain (e.g., @example.com). You can use the CONCATENATE function to achieve this.
The formula would be as follows:
This will return “John@example.com”. Similarly, =CONCATENATE(A3, “@example.com”) will return “Jane@example.com”.
Example #3: Combining Text with Cell Values
The CONCATENATE function can also be used to combine text strings with cell values. For instance, if you have a list of products in column A (A2: Apples, A3: Bananas) and their prices in column B (B2: $1.00, B3: $0.50), you can use CONCATENATE to create a sentence describing each product.
The formula would be as follows:
=CONCATENATE(“The price of “, A2, ” is “, B2)
This will return “The price of Apples is $1.00”. Similarly, =CONCATENATE(“The price of “, A3, ” is “, B3) will return “The price of Bananas is $0.50”.
Example #4: Combining Multiple Columns
You can use CONCATENATE to combine values from multiple columns into one. For example, if you have a list of street names in column A (A2: Maple, A3: Oak), city names in column B (B2: New York, B3: Los Angeles), and states in column C (C2: NY, C3: CA), you can create a full address in column D.
The formula would be as follows:
=CONCATENATE(A2, “, “, B2, “, “, C2)
This will return “Maple, New York, NY”. Similarly, =CONCATENATE(A3, “, “, B3, “, “, C3) will return “Oak, Los Angeles, CA”.
Why Is CONCATENATE Not Working? Troubleshooting Common Errors
If you’ve been trying to use CONCATENATE in Google Sheets but are encountering some issues, you’re not alone. While CONCATENATE is a powerful function, it can sometimes produce errors if not used correctly. Let’s look at some of the most common errors, their causes, and how to fix them.
Cause: This error typically occurs when one or more of the values you’re trying to concatenate isn’t compatible with the CONCATENATE function. This could be because one of the cells contains a non-text value like an error or a date.
Solution: To fix this, make sure that all of the cells contain text values. If you’re trying to concatenate a date, first use the TEXT function to convert it to a text value.
Cause: This error can occur when you’re trying to concatenate a cell that doesn’t exist. For example, if you’re trying to concatenate cell A1 with cell B1, but cell B1 doesn’t exist, you’ll get a #N/A error.
Solution: To solve this, double-check your formula to make sure all the cells you’re trying to concatenate actually exist. If a cell doesn’t exist, either create it or remove it from your formula.
Cause: This error usually happens when you’re trying to concatenate a cell that has been deleted. If you delete a cell that is being referenced in a CONCATENATE function, Google Sheets will return a #REF! error.
Solution: To fix this, go through your formula and ensure that all cells being referenced still exist. If a cell has been deleted, you’ll need to either recreate it or remove it from your formula.
Cause: This error is typically a result of a typo in your formula. If you misspell CONCATENATE or any other part of your formula, will Google Sheets not recognize it and return a #NAME? error.
Solution: The solution here is simple: double-check your formula for any typos or misspelled words. Ensure you’re spelling CONCATENATE correctly and that all other parts of your formula are correct.
Cause: This error is less common with CONCATENATE but can occur if you’re trying to concatenate a very large number that Google Sheets can’t handle.
Solution: If you’re encountering this error, try breaking your number down into smaller parts and concatenating those instead. Alternatively, you could convert your number to a text string using the TEXT function before concatenating it.
In conclusion, while CONCATENATE is a powerful function in Google Sheets, it can sometimes produce errors if not used correctly. By understanding the common errors and their causes, you can troubleshoot and solve any issues you encounter while using CONCATENATE.
Using CONCATENATE With Other Google Sheets Functions
Combining CONCATENATE with other Google Sheets functions can provide a powerful way to manipulate and present your data. This combination allows you to implement complex operations involving text and numerical data. Here are a few examples of how you can use CONCATENATE with other Google Sheets functions.
Usage: The IF function returns one value if a condition is true and another if it’s false. When combined with CONCATENATE, you can create dynamic strings based on certain conditions.
Example: Suppose you have a list of students and their scores, and you want to classify them as either “Pass” or “Fail”. The formula would look like this:
=CONCATENATE(A2, ” “, IF(B2>=50, “Pass”, “Fail”))
This formula will return the student’s name followed by either “Pass” or “Fail”, depending on their score.
Usage: The TODAY function returns the current date. You can use this function with CONCATENATE to create strings that include the current date.
Example: Suppose you want to create a string that says “Today’s date is ” followed by the current date. The formula would look like this:
=CONCATENATE(“Today’s date is “, TEXT(TODAY(), “mm/dd/yyyy”))
This formula will return a string that includes the current date in mm/dd/yyyy format.
Usage: The COUNTA function counts the number of cells that are not empty. When combined with CONCATENATE, you can create strings that include the count of certain elements in your data.
Example: Suppose you have a list of tasks and want to create a string that says, “You have X tasks to complete”, where X is the number of non-empty cells. The formula would look like this:
=CONCATENATE(“You have “, COUNTA(B2:B10), ” tasks to complete”)
This formula will return a string that includes the count of non-empty cells in B2:B10.
For more details on the CONCATENATE function, check out the official documentation at the Google Docs Editors Help Center.